Is commercial exploitation and overfishing the reasons why the Snapper 1 fishery needs rebuilding?

August 23, 2018
The recent stock assessment suggests that the Snapper 1 stock has doubled from its low point of the 1990s, so it can be argued that it has rebuilt. That is the problem with language like this – what does rebuilt mean? It suggests a fully rebuilt stock would be back at an unfished biomass. The Snapper 1 stock is half of the target of 40% of unfished biomass, regardless of any changes in the last 30 years and the serious depletion from which snapper is recovering. This depletion was inflicted by a wave of reckless industrial commercial fishing, encouraged by subsidies and demands for exports. Nowadays, recovery is thwarted by poor industrial practices that kill excessive numbers of juvenile fish without cost, and a perverted management system that causes fishermen to illegally dump fish to remain profitable. To help you a bit further, a brief look into the background issues affecting the current state of our inshore fish stocks, including snapper, is available here.