Snapper changes announced to secure fish stocks

9 October 2012

The November Snapper closure for commercial fishing of snapper will be extended by two weeks and bag limits will be reduced for recreational and charter fishing during this time.

These new measures are to provide greater protection to South Australia’s iconic Snapper species and safeguard future stocks.

In 2013, the two week extended closure will apply to all sectors.

The changes to Snapper fishing include:

- In 2012, a 15-day extension to the annual state-wide Snapper fishing closure will apply to commercial fishers.
- In 2012, recreational and charter fishers will be able to fish for Snapper during the 15-day extension period (midday 30 November – midday 15 December). However during this time reduced Snapper bag and boat limits will apply.
- From 2013 onwards, the 15-day extension to the Snapper fishing closure will apply to all fishing sectors; commercial, recreational and charter. In effect, Snapper fishing will be completely banned in all South Australian waters from midday 1 November to midday 15 December annually.
- Effective midday 15 December 2012, a daily commercial catch limit of 500kg will apply across  all South Australian waters, to control the level of commercial impact on Snapper stocks.
- Effective midday 15 December 2012, commercial fishers will be restricted to using 200 hooks on set lines (reduced from 400 hooks) when operating in Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent.

Additional work and community consultation will be undertaken on the development and implementation of Snapper spatial closures to further protect the main spawning aggregations in Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent, with any further announcements to be made in early 2013.

Executive Director of PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture, Professor Mehdi Doroudi, said the new measures follow an extensive review and consultation into Snapper management arrangements.

“The aim of PIRSA’s review has been to establish new arrangements that control the level of commercial catch and minimise disturbance to the spawning aggregations so opportunities for spawning and recruitment success can be maximised," he said.

“We have been mindful of the potential economic, social and tourism impacts of any changes and have worked closely with all fishing sectors, tourism authorities and local government bodies to achieve a balanced outcome.”

Over coming months, PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture will undertake consultation on the implementation of spatial closures during the annual spawning aggregation period, which runs from November to January each year. These measures will be designed to further safeguard Snapper stocks by preventing fishers from targeting Snapper in selected significant breeding areas during this critical reproductive period.

For more information on the Snapper fishing changes, visit

PIRSA will be communicating directly with the commercial and charter fishing sectors. Fishcare Volunteers will also be in the community explaining these changes.

The following reduced fishing limits will apply to recreational fishers during the 15-day extension period, between midday 30 November to midday 15 December 2012.

In the waters of Gulf St Vincent, Investigator Strait, Backstairs Passage:

Size limit (cm) 38-60cm, bag limit (per person) 2, boat limit (per boat)  6
Size limit (cm) 60cm, bag limit (per person) 1, boat limit (per boat) 3

Other waters  

Size limit (cm) 38-60cm, bag limit (per person) 5, boat limit (per boat) 15
Size limit (cm) 60cm, bag limit (per person) 1, boat limit (per boat) 15>60cm  3

Recreational fishers are prohibited from fishing for Snapper during the November closure, between midday 1 November to midday 30 November 2012.

Outside the November closure and the 15-day extension period, recreational Snapper limits will revert to current bag and boat limits. View Snapper fishing limits

snapper catch