Grass Emperor are a popular food species and are the most commonly targeted inshore species. 

  • 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

    • Local Sportfishers reported catch rate was 1 fish/fisher/day in 2016.
    • Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys report a catch rate of 2.2 fish/fisher/day
    • Mackay ranked 2nd in the state for Grass Emperor Catch Rates
    • Notable increase in Commercial Catch Rates, increasing from 13.3kg/day in 2016 to 21.5kg/day in 2017


    Quality of the Fish

    • 2017 Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys report an average size of 355mm
    • Mackay ranked 8th in the State for size of Grass Emperor (based on Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys - based on min 100 fish reported)


    Community Attitudes

    • 78% of Grass Emperor reported in Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys were released
    • 69% of Grass Emperor caught in Mackay were reported by locals
    • Mackay ranked 9th in the state for the number of fish released


  • Forecast

    Moderate Take For Consumption Advised

    Grass Emperor catch rates are in the top 5 in the state and there are no reported issues for the species. This however is relative to current effort. Maintianing the current community harvest attitudes to the species is appropriate to maintaining the health of catch rates over the longer term.

    • Catch rates should continue to improve in 2018 (+10-+30%)
    • Average size of fish is likely to be similar in 2018 (Average 359mm)
    • 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 Mackay regularly report catching Grass Emperor with most being returned to the water. Monitoring began in 2017 and continues in 2018.

    • Grass Emperor was the 2nd most commonly reported species in Mackay in 2017
    • Average size of fish measured in Mackay was 355mm
    • Fishers reported an overall catch rate of 2.2 fish/fisher/day
    • 78% of all fish reported were released
    • 69% of the total catch was reported by locals
    • Peak periods for Grass Emperor catches were during March, May and November in 2017


    Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys monitoring dashboard


  • Sportfishers

    Gladstone Sportfishing Club

    Grass Emperor 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, the offshore fishery represents the opportunity to bring back a feed of fish for the family.

    • Local Sportfishers reported a catch rate of 1 fish/fisher/day in 2016.
    • Further data under review


    A snapshot of Grass Emperor catch by Suntaggers is available:

    Local Sportfishers / Suntaggers


  • 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 Grass Emperor in Mackay (see Area Fished section) represents 19.6% share of the total statewide catch in 2017. Monitoring is ongoing in 2018.

    • Commercial Catch rate is up from 13.1kg/fisher/day in 2016 to 21.5kg/fisher/day in 2017
    • Number of active licenses in 2017 was 17 with 12-22 active over the past 10 years.
    • Commercial catch in 2017 is 2.13T, compared to. 2.69T in 2016.


    Mackay Grass Emperor Commercial Catch Dashboard


  • Recruitment

    Monitoring of Grass Emperor Recruitment

    No data is available currently on Grass Emperor Recruitment.


  • Monitoring

    Monitoring of Grass Emperor

    Data for this assessment has been sourced from:

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

    Here are links to all the monitoring pages for Grass Emperor:

    Local Sportfishers
    Mackay Queensland Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys
    Mackay Queensland Fisheries Commercial Data

  • Fishing Area

    Area Assessed

    Offshore catch monitoring is more difficult than inshore as each of the monitoring agencies define different boundaries around fishing areas. These boundaries can overlap with other regions.   Fishers from Gladstone for example fish offshore from Rockhampton. Commercially Grids included in the assessment: S30,S31,T30,T31,U30,U31,V30,V31,W30,W31,X30,X31 (Gladstone).