Saddletail Snapper are a popular food species and are a commonly targeted offshore species. Most of the offshore fishing for reef species around Cairns is conducted by recreational fishers.

  • 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 reported a catch rate of 0.5 fish/fisher/day in 2017
    • Saddletail Snapper were the 8th most commonly reported fish in Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys
    • Slight decrease in Commercial Catch Rates, from  37kg/day in 2016 to 32.5kg/day in 2017


    Quality of the Fish

    • 2017 Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys 545mm
    • Cairns ranked 5th in the State for size of Saddletail Snapper but due to small sample size there is some uncertainty in that ranking.


    Community Attitudes

    • 59% of fish reported at Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp in survey in 2017 were released
    • Cairns has the 8th highest rate of released fish in the state 


  • Assessment

    Limited Take For Consumption Advised

    Saddletail Snapper are regularly reported and the 8th most reported species in the region. Commercial catches indicate that recruitment may be periodic with periods where conditions are optimal followed by many years of sub-optimal conditions. For this reason, the commercial catch share of the state catch fluctuates wildly.  

    Heavy harvesting of Saddletail Snapper is not recommended, but a moderate take for immediate consumption is unlikely to adversely affect stocks based on available data. 

  • Forecast


    • Catch rates will be in a similar range in 2018 (+20 - -20%)
    • Fish would be in the range 450mm-550mm
    • 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 report catching Saddletail Snapper in 2017 with most being kept. Monitoring began in 2017 and continues in 2018.

    • Saddletail Snapper were commonly reported, ranking 8th in Cairns in 2017
    • The average size of fish measured was 545mm
    • Fishers reported an overall catch rate of 0.5fish/fisher/day in 2017
    • 59% of fish reported in 2017 were released 
    • Peak periods for Saddletail Snapper catches in 2017 were during February, July and November


    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 Saddletail Snapper in Cairns (see Area Fished section) represented 6.8% share of the total statewide catch in 2017. Monitoring is ongoing in 2018.

    • Commercial Catch rate decreased, from 37kg/fisher/day in 2016 to 32kg/fisher/day in 2017
    • The number of active licenses has ranged from 10-24 over the past decade with 24 licenses active in 2017
    • Commercial Catch in 2017 was 4.19T, compared to 4.92T in 2016.


    Cairns Saddletail Snapper Commercial Catch Dashboard


  • Sportfishers

    Local Sportfishers

    Saddletail Snapper 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 snapshot of local Sportfishers (Suntag) data is available:

    Local Sportfishers


  • Recruitment

    Monitoring of Saddletail Snapper Recruitment

    No data is available currently on Crimson Snapper recruitment.


  • Monitoring

    Monitoring of Saddletail Snapper

    Data for this assessment has been sourced from:

    • Bureau of Meterology
    • Queensland Fisheries
    • Local Sportfishers / Suntaggers


    Here are links to all the monitoring pages for Saddletail Snapper:

    Local Sportfishers
    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.