Snapper down, but not out

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Fish assured: Fisheries Victoria says a drop in the number of snapper spawned in Port Phillip will not cause a loss in catch either in the bay or central and western Victorian waters. Picture: Keith Platt

Fish assured: Fisheries Victoria says a drop in the number of snapper spawned in Port Phillip will not cause a loss in catch either in the bay or central and western Victorian waters. Picture: Keith Platt

ALTHOUGH the number of snapper spawned in Port Phillip last year

Was less than in previous years Fisheries Victoria executive director, Travis Dowling, says it is “nothing to be alarmed about”.

Mr Dowling says “natural fluctuations” are “perfectly normal in wild fish populations”.

And he does not see the drop in spawning success affecting catches in the bay.

“We are fortunate that this lower spawning year follows two very successful spawning seasons for snapper, which will ensure the fishery remains productive for years to come,” Mr Dowling said.

“Our scientists have undertaken these surveys of baby snapper in late March for 23 years and know to expect variation in spawning success depending on environmental conditions.

“Port Phillip is the most important spawning area for snapper in central and western Victoria.

“The surveys indicate low spawning success is more common than high spawning success, but the snapper fishery can remain strong with only a few highly successful spawnings each decade.”

Mr Dowling said key factors affecting the numbers of baby snapper included how many adults produced eggs, water temperature and nutrient input.

“The latter two factors affect the survival rate of young snapper and are influenced by the timing and magnitude of spring/summer temperature increases and flows down the Yarra River,” he said.

Mr Dowling said it was important anglers obeyed bag and size limits for snapper “to ensure a high quality fishery that is robust to these variations in spawning success”.

First published in the Mornington News – 25 August 2015

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