Coral Trout are a prized food species for locals and visitors.

  • Overview


    Crystal Bowl GBR is aiming to examine 3 core measures across a wide range of species in the region:

    • Fishing experience (how many fish per trip)
    • Quality of the fish (size of fish)
    • Community attitudes (number of legal size fish kept or released)


    Fishing Experience

    • Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys reports catch rate of 2.1 fish/fisher/day
    • Cairns ranked 2nd in the state for Common Coral Trout Catch Rates
    • An increase in Commercial Catch Rates was reported, from 49.6 kg/day in 2016 to 69.6 kg/day in 2017


    Quality of the Fish

    • Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys reported an average length of 458mm in 2017
    • Cairns ranked 7th in the State for size of Common Coral Trout (based on Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys - based on min 40 fish reported)


    Community Attitudes

    • 49% of fish reported in Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp surveys were kept
    • 58% of fish reported in 2017 were caught by locals 
    • Cairns had the 5th highest rate of released fish in the state in 2017


  • Assessment

    Moderate Take For Consumption Advised

    Catch rates have been on the improve the past two years for recreational and commercial fishers. Conditions in 2018 may depend on current proposals to increase quota in the Coral Trout fishery. If quota remains similar to 2017 through 2018 conditions are likely to improve slightly in 2018.

    Coral Trout is one of the drawcards for fishers coming to Cairns due to their excellent eating qualities. Moderate take is unlikely to impact stocks of Coral Trout noting there are environmental stressors such as Coral bleaching affecting this species.

  • Forecast


    • Catch rates should continue to improve in 2018 (+10-+30%)
    • Average size of fish is likely to be similar in 2018 (Average 450+mm)
    • Recruitment is unknown


  • Qld FIsheries Boat Ramp Surveys 

    Monitoring of Recreational Catch by Qld Fisheries

    Queensland Fisheries monitors boat ramps up and down the coast as a part of the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy. Fishers in Cairns regularly report catching Common Coral Trout with most being kept. Monitoring began in 2017 and continues in 2018.

    • Common Coral Trout was the most commonly reported species in Cairns in 2017
    • An average size of 458mm was reported in 2017
    • Fishers reported a catch rate of 2.1 fish/fisher/day
    • 51% of fish reported in 2017 were released
    • 58% of the fish reported in 2017 were caught by locals
    • Peak periods for catch rates in 2017 were during January, March, July and September in 2017


    Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys monitoring dashboard


  • Commercial Fishing

    Commercial Fishing Catch

    Queensland Fisheries monitors commercial catches up and down the coast. Commercial fishers are required to maintain logbooks of catch and report quarterly. The commercial catch of Common Coral Trout in Cairns (see Area Fished section) represented 4.45% share of the total statewide catch in 2017. Monitoring is ongoing in 2018.

    Cairns share of the Coral Trout fishery has increased over the past two decades to between 4.5-4.9% making this one of the most important finfish commercial fisheries in the region.  Coral Trout are fished under quota, with quota increases being considered.

    • Commercial Catch rate is up from 49.6kg/fisher/day in 2016 to 69.6kg/fisher/day in 2017
    • Number of active licenses has been between 27-47 over the past decade with 36 active in 2017
    • Commercial catch in 2017 was 33.9T, compared to 35.4T in 2016


    Cairns Common Coral Torut Commercial Catch Dashboard


  • Sportfishers

    Local Sportfishers

    Common Coral Trout are targeted by sportfishers for much the same reason as other groups - take home for a feed. As sportfishers practice catch and release for their key estuary targets, offshore represents the opportunity to bring back a feed of fish for the family.

    • Data pending


    A detailed snapshot of Sportfisher / Suntaggers data is available:

    Cairns Sportfishers


  • Recruitment

    Monitoring of Common Coral Trout Recruitment

    No data is available currently on Common Coral Trout recruitment.


  • Monitoring

    Monitoring of Common Coral Trout

    Data for this assessment has been sourced from:

    • Bureau of Meterology
    • Suntagger / Sportfishers
    • Queensland Fisheries


    Here are links to all the monitoring pages for Common Coral Trout:

    Cairns Sportfishers / Suntaggers
    Cairns Queensland Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys
    Cairns Queensland Fisheries Commercial Data

  • Fishing Area

    Area Assessed


    Offshore assessments of Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp data are based on ramp of origin, destination is recorded in broad general regions.  Some offshore traffic likely extends offshore of Port Douglas.  Commercial catches have been assessed directly out of Cairns H16/17-P16/17