Project number: 2008-015
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $371,283.00
Principal Investigator: Wayne Sumpton
Organisation: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries EcoScience Precinct
Project start/end date: 28 Feb 2009 - 29 Jun 2012


Recreational rocky reef fishing effort is concentrated in the densely populated southern part of Queensland and there have been increasing concerns of localised depletion of rocky reef species at a time when there are also increased competitive pressures on commercial line fishers in this area.

DPI&F will shortly be reviewing management arrangements for the rocky reef fishery and this proposed research will directly feed into this management process by addressing high priority QFIRAC, ReefMAC and ReefSAG research needs. These priorities include determining the critical habitats of all life history stages of rocky reef species, improving our understanding the fisheries biology and population dynamics of rocky reef species (particularly pearl perch and teraglin).

A recent assessment and MSE (Allen et al 2006) and subsequent review by Dr Carl Walters suggested recruitment over-fishing of snapper and recommended several research and monitoring initiatives to ensure sustainability of species taken in the rocky reef fishery. Some of the monitoring requirements (eg age structured sampling of snapper) are already being addressed as core business of the DPI&F long term monitoring program but other research priorities including estimating discard mortality and identifying ways of reducing this mortality are yet to be addressed.

In addition, despite recent declines in trawl effort in Moreton Bay and elsewhere, the impact of the incidental trawl capture of snapper (and other rocky reef species) has been shown to be substantial (Sumpton et al 2005). There is a need to work closely with industry and other stakeholders to examine the importance of different habitats and to minimise the impact of fishing practises on juvenile rocky reef species.

Management utilisation of the results of this research will be ensured by the involvement of Brigid Kerrigan (current QDPI&F reef-line fishery manager) as a co-investigator, and a steering committee involving representatives of all key stakeholders.


1. Determine key biological parameters required to sustainably and profitably manage the fisheries for key rocky reef fish species (particularly pearl perch and teraglin).
2. Quantify the release survival of common rocky reef species and investigate novel ways of enhancing release survival.
3. Determine the important habitats for rocky reef species and identify possible threats to those habitats.
4. Develop harvest strategy approaches that enable the sustainable management of rocky reef fisheries.

Final report

ISBN: 978 0 7345 0436 4
Author: Wayne Sumpton

Related research


National Snapper Workshop - Rebuilding our iconic Snapper stocks

1. To identify key issues and challenges for Snapper, review Snapper research, and critique jurisdictional management arrangements.
Department of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA)