Red Emperor are a popular food species and are the most commonly targeted offshore species. Most of the offshore activity for reef species around Mackay 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 to released)


    Fishing Experience

    • Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys reports catch rate of 0.9 fish/fisher/day
    • Red Emporer were not commonly reported in 2017 (19th most common at boat ramp surveys)
    • Slight increase in Commercial Catch Rates from 18.5kg/day in 2016 to 19.3kg/day in 2017
    • Mackay ranked 6th in the state for the catch rates of Red Emperor


    Quality of the Fish

    • 2017 Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys reported an average length of 635mm
    • Mackay ranked 4th in the state for average length however due to small sample size this has a high level of uncertainty


    Community Attitudes

    • 87% of Red Emperor caught in 2017 were released
    • 60% of fish reported in 2017 were caught by locals
    • Mackay ranked 4th in the state for the number of fish released 


  • Forecast

    Limited Take For Consumption Advised

    Red Emperor are a small portion of the offshore catch for all species off Gladstone. Limited data suggests catch rates have declined in recent years, that may be due to lower abundance or shifting fishing effort.  Without clear evidence of stocks, some caution should be exercised on harvest.

    It should be noted that the longest term dataset Yaralla Deep Sea Club indicates that long term catch rates can be variable ranging from 0.6 fish/fisher/day in 2013 to 6.2 in 2003.

    • Catch rates may continue to decline in 2018 (-20-+20%)
    • Average size of fish is unable to be predicted on existing data but majority will be legal >550mm
    • Recruitment is unknown


    Heavy harvesting of Red Emporer is not recommended, but a limited take for consumption is unlikely to adversely affect stocks based on available data. 


  • 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 Red Emperor with most being returned to the water. Monitoring began in 2017 and continues in 2018.

    • Red Emperor was not a commonly reported species in Mackay in 2017, ranking 19th
    • Average size of fish measured in 2017 was 635mm
    • Recreational Fishers reported a catch rate of 0.94 fish/fisher/day
    • 87% of fish reported in 2017 were released
    • Peak periods of Red Emperor catches in 2017 were during February, March and September


    Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys monitoring dashboard


  • Sportfishers

    Red Emperor

    Red 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, offshore represents the opportunity to bring back a feed of fish for the family.

    • Sportfishers in Mackay reported a catch rate of 6 fish/fisher/day in 2017
    • 100% of the catch reported in 2017 was undersize fish 
    • The most common fish size reported in 2017 were those in the 301-400mm size range 


    A snapshot of Sportfisher (Suntaggers) results 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 Red Emperor in Mackay (see Area Fished section) represents 18.4% share of the total statewide catch. Monitoring is ongoing in 2018.

    • Commercial Catch rate in 2017 had increased slightly from 18.5kg/fisher/day in 2016 to 19.3kg/fisher/day in 2017
    • Number of active licenses has fluctuated between 27-50 over the past decade with 35 licenses active in 2017
    • Commercial catch in 2017 was 6.39T, compared to 4.99T in 2016.


    Mackay Red Emperor Commercial Catch Dashboard


  • Recruitment

    Monitoring of Red Emperor Recruitment

    No data is available currently on Red Emperor recruitment.


  • Monitoring

    Monitoring of Red Emperor

    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 Red Emperor:

    Local Sportfishers / Suntag 
    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).