Red Emperor are a popular food species and are the most commonly targeted offshore species. Most of the offshore activity for reef species around Rockhampton 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 1.2fish/fisher/day
    • Red Emperor were commonly reported in 2017 (8th most common at boat ramp surveys)
    • A decrease in Commercial Catch Rates from 22.6 kg/day in 2016 to 15.6 kg/day in 2017


    Quality of the Fish

    • 2017 Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys reported an average length of 598mm in 2017
    • Rockhampton ranked 6th in the state for average length however due to small sample size this has a high level of uncertainty


    Community Attitudes

    • 91% of Red Emperor caught in 2017 were released
    • 62% of fish reported were caught by visitors
    • Rockhampton ranked 6th in the state for release rate of Red Emperor


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

    • Red Emperor was a commonly reported species ranking 8th in Rockhampton in 2017
    • The average size of fish measured in 2017 was 598mm
    • Recreational Fishers reported a catch rate of 1.2 fish/fisher/day in 2017
    • 91% of fish reported in 2017 were released
    • 62% of fish reported were caught by visitors
    • Peak periods of Red Emperor catches in 2017 were during February and October


    Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys monitoring dashboard


  • Sportfishers


    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 Rockhampton reported a catch rate of 0.27 fish/fisher/day in 2017
    • The most commonly caught length in 2017 were fish in the 401-500mm size range


    A snapshot of local Sportfisher / Suntaggers catch data 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 Rockhampton (maps S28, S29 to X28, X29) represents 5.94% share of the total statewide catch. Monitoring is ongoing in 2018.

    • Commercial Catch rate in 2017 had decreased slightly from 22.6  kg/fisher/day in 2016 to 15.6 kg/fisher/day in 2017
    • Number of active licenses has fluctuated between 20-30 over the past decade with 30 licenses active in 2017
    • Commercial catch in 2017 was 2.05T, compared to 2.42T in 2016.


    Rockhampton 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 
    Rockhampton Queensland Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys
    Rockhampton 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).