Habitat and Ecology
Snapper congregate prior to spawning and move on to the spawning ground around November to December. They are serial spawners, releasing eggs over the spring and summer months. The young will school in shallow waters, and move into deeper waters in the winter months.
The global population of Pink Snapper exists in a number of subpopulations due to genetic isolation of the northern and southern hemisphere (D. Paulin pers. comm. 2008). This is also seen on a regional scale. In New Zealand there is little mixing between the East Northland and Hauraki Gulf Snapper. This is also seen in Shark Bay, Western Australia where there is evidence to suggest that there is little if any mixing between coastal and ocean snapper (Edwards et al. 1989, 1999; Johnson et al. 1986; Moran et al. 1998, 2003; Nahas et al. 2003).
Recorded at 200 meters.
Recorded at 200 meters.
Diseases and Parasites
Life History and Behavior
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Pagrus auratus
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 20
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
Over the past 25 years, the snapper fisheries of Australia and New Zealand were described as over-exploited as stocks showed signs of collapse. In New Zealand, snapper landings peaked at 18,000 tonnes, however by the mid 1980s the catches had declined to 8,500 - 9,000 tonnes. Since then New Zealand implemented one of the most comprehensive Quota Mangement Systems to manage the remaining stock and set Total Allowable Commercial Catch limits based on the biological maximum sustainable yield (BMSY).
The New Zealand snapper fishery is split into 10 Quota Management Areas (QMA). Four areas of the fishery, SNA1, SNA2, SNA7 and SNA8, account for nearly all of the total landings. Within SNA1, there are 2 sub-stocks, East Northland and Hauraki Gulf/ Bay of Plenty. A stock assessment of the East Northland sub-stock indicates that the population currently meets the BMSY reference point and is expected to exceed this (67% probability) come the end of the 20 year projection period. The Hauraki Gulf stock currently falls below the BMSY reference point, but there is a 100% probability that it will exceed this point within the projection period. Estimates from SNA2 indicate that the stock is near or just below the BMSY but is expected to exceed this level by 2011, assuming fishing effort, landings, and natural mortality remain constant. The stock in SNA7 is thought to be well above the BMSY and will continue to further increase even if future landings were significantly larger than at present. The stock in SNA8 is thought to be below the BMSY, however estimates from this assessment were considered unreliable due to model error.
Analysis of the Queensland fishery stock, has been controversial. Most data on the stock is derived from recreational and commercial landings. Recreational data imples that the stock is in severe decline and below the BMSY, while commercial data would suggest that the stock is in a slow rate of decline. There are at present, concerns about the long-term sustainability of this fishery as fishing effort moves further north to new fishing grounds.
At present there is no evidence to suggest that stocks in the Shark Bay Snapper Fishery are below reference points or limits. Estimates of the stock indicate that 70% of the virgin stock biomass still remains.
In 1988, the Japanese successfully cultured 45,000 tonnes of Pink Snapper, three times the amount that is harvested from wild stocks. Other countries, such as New Zealand and Australia, are running trial aquaculture experiments in an attempt to aid recovery of exploited stocks.
Since the 1980s, Japan has managed to successfully culture this species on a commercial scale and now obtains 75% of its annual quota from captive bred stock. New Zealand and Australia are both developing their aquaculture industries in an attempt to alleviate pressure on wild populations.
Further research on the stock status of the Queensland and New South Wales fisheries is needed before wild stocks collapse. In consideration of the genetic isolation of stocks, seen on both a global and localised scale, future conservation efforts should seek to protect spawning grounds.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
The Australasian snapper or silver seabream, Pagrus auratus, is a species of porgie found in coastal waters of Philippines, Indonesia, China, Taiwan, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia; its distribution areas in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres are disjunct. Although it is almost universally known in New Zealand and Australia as snapper, it does not belong to the Lutjanidae family of snappers. It is highly prized as an eating fish.
Regional variation in naming
Australia: cocknies (young smaller than legal size), red bream or pinkies (legal size), squire or squirefish (when bigger), snapper (at full size)
Victoria: also schnapper (ref: Schnapper Point, Mornington)
South Australia: the name "ruggers" is often used for smaller fish of legal size
Aboriginal people of the Port Jackson area in Australia: they called it wollamie (also spelt wollamai, and other variations). European colonists there knew it as the "light horseman", for the resemblance of the fish's skull to the helmet of a light horseman.
The Australasian snapper is found on all coasts of New Zealand, especially in the north. In Australia, it is found along the south coast, mainly near Kiama, Berry, Gerringong, Gerroa, Huskisson, Vincentia, and Shoalhaven. It is also found on the coast of Tasmania, but in smaller numbers. The fish spawn in inshore waters and live in rocky areas and reefs of up to 200 m deep. They school, and will migrate between reefs. Larger fish are known to enter estuaries and harbours, for example Port Phillip Bay has a renowned seasonal snapper run.
Growth rates within the wild stocks vary with some (i.e. the Hauraki Gulf, NZ) growing rapidly and to a smaller maximum length, while stocks in east and west Australia are known to grow more slowly. The species is capable of living about 40 years throughout much of its range in Australia, and the Australian recordholder of 40 years and 10 months was a 935-mm large-nosed male, caught on 1 September 2007 off Bunbury, West Australia, and photographed on the day of capture. Sexual maturity is reached at about 30 cm long and a small percentage of the males will turn into females at puberty. Large individuals of both sexes develop a prominent hump on the head. Anglers are advised not to take immature fish, so as not to reduce breeding stock. The legal size in Australia varies by state, from 35 cm and a bag limit of five fish per person in Queensland to 50 cm in Western Australia. During spawing, these fish obtain a metallic green sheen which indicates a high concentration of acid buildup within the scales' infrastructure. Minimum sizes are supposed to be designed to allow these fish to participate in spawning runs at least once before they become available to the fishery, but given the slow growth rates of this species, a need exists to consider area closures and/or further increasing the minimum sizes in each state to reduce the chances of growth overfishing of the various populations of snapper throughout its range. This may be important with recent developments in technology such as GPS.
Catches of Australasian snapper have varied between 25,600 and 34,300 tonnes in 2000–2009, with Japan and New Zealand reporting the largest catches.
- Carpenter, K., Matsuura, K., Collette, B., Nelson, J., Dooley, J., Fritzsche, R. & Fricke, R. (2010). "Pagrus auratus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
- Based on data sourced from the FishStat database
- Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2012). "Chrysophrys auratus" in FishBase. September 2012 version.
- "Relationships among partial and whole lengths and weights for Western Australian Pink Snapper Chrysophrys auratus (Sparidae) - Department of Fisheries, Western Australia, Fish for the Future". Archived from the original on 19 August 2006. Retrieved 2006-07-22.
- "Fishing Australia with the Definitive Aussie Interactive Sports Fishing Website! - Sportsfish Australia". Archived from the original on 3 July 2006. Retrieved 2006-07-22.
- Australian Aboriginal Words in English, R. M. W. Dixon, Oxford University Press, 1990, ISBN 0-19-553099-3
- Matthew Flinders. A Voyage to Terra Australis, volume 1 at Project Gutenberg, entry for 3 May 1802
- Snapper, New Zealand's Greatest Fish, Te Ika Rangatira o Aotearoa, Sam Mossman, AUT Media, 2008, ISBN 978-0-9582829-6-3
- Norriss, J.V.; Crisafulli, B. (2010). "Longevity in Australian Snapper". Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 93: 129–32.
- Dianne J. Bray & Martin F. Gomon, 2011, Snapper, Chrysophrys auratus, in Fishes of Australia, accessed 09 Sep 2014, http://www.fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/678
- FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) (2011). Yearbook of fishery and aquaculture statistics 2009. Capture production. Rome: FAO. p. 162.
- Allan, Richard (1990). Australian Fish and How to Catch Them. Landsdowne Publishing. ISBN 1-86302-674-6.
- "Snapper". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. 1966. Retrieved 2006-07-22.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Australasian snapper.|
- Fisheries Western Australia - Pink Snapper Fact Sheet
- Snapper, Fishfiles by Fisheries Research and Development Corporation
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