South Australian snapper stocks are about to get a significant boost with more than 300,000 fingerlings to be released in both the Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent over the coming months.
The restocking program is a $500,000 commitment from the Marshall Liberal Government to help snapper stocks recover from critically low levels in South Australia’s gulf waters.
Approximately 150,000 fingerlings will start to be released in Gulf St Vincent over the next week with an extra 150,000 fingerlings expected to be released into Spencer Gulf in autumn.
Adult stock were collected from both Gulf St Vincent and Spencer Gulf in 2019 and after successful spawning, fingerlings have been raised at the South Australian Research and Development Institute’s (SARDI) West Beach facility.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said the SARDI scientists cracked the code for successful snapper spawning in October last year, resulting in healthy fingerlings, which are now at the optimal release size of 40-60mm.
“This is an incredibly exciting project that could have major benefits for the South Australian snapper fishery and this release will be one of the largest restocking events for snapper ever undertaken in Australia,” Minister Basham said.
“Starting next week, these 150,000 fingerlings will be set free in Gulf St Vincent over several trips, when they will be released into mixed soft substrate and seagrass habitats in northern Gulf St Vincent, where snapper fingerlings are known to settle naturally.
“At SARDI’s West Beach facility, the Spencer Gulf breeding stock have recently spawned and we are aiming to release at least 150,000 fingerlings back into Spencer Gulf this Autumn.
“Scientific assessments over the past couple of years have shown snapper stocks in South Australia’s gulf waters are at critically low levels which meant our Government had to take drastic action to help rebuild the decimated stocks, including closing the fishery until 2023.
“South Australia is proud of its reputation as a recreational fishing destination and custodian of pristine environments. Unlike the former Labor Government we will not just sit back and watch this species decline, we are doing everything we can to allow snapper stocks to rebuild.
“We want to create a sustainable snapper fishery for future generations of recreational fishers and seafood consumers and the snapper restocking program is a key part of that.
“This is one of more than a dozen projects that aim to support the recovery and growth of South Australia’s snapper fishery.”
For more information on snapper in South Australia visit: https://www.pir.sa.gov.au/fishing/fishing_limits/snapper