Snapper Survival

Recreational fishers are the ultimate stewards of Victoria’s world class fishery. Not only do we want to ensure our fishery is sustainable, we want to see it flourish for future generations. If a problem is identified, we will often respond by creating awareness and, if required, adopting new ways to fish. 

Victoria’s snapper fishery has arguably never been better. In fact, in 2018 there was record breaking recruitment for our snapper stocks. When the fishery is in such good shape often fishers will catch their bag limit quickly or need to release fish outside of the size slot limit. As a result, many fishers will practice catch-and-release, so our handling techniques play a vital role in the survival of released fish. During the snapper seasons of 2011 and 2012, there were a number of reported instances of dead and dying snapper floating on the surface in Port Phillip and Westernport Bays due to poor release techniques from fishers. In response, VRFish and its members proactively implemented an education campaign that would aim to increase released snapper survival. 

As the annual snapper run is beginning to build, it is opportune time to provide a refresh to Victorian fishers on the best practice handling techniques to help released snapper to survive. 

To help released snapper survive, fishers are encouraged to:

  • Fish shallow water to avoid barotrauma – fish caught from depths greater than 11 metres can suffer from barotrauma.
  • Leave snapper in the water for release – if you must lift the fish from the water, keep air exposure to a minimum.
  • Minimise handling and netting – use knotless nets and wet hands to minimise harm to the fish and support its weight.
  • Use circle hooks or lures – this gear is less likely to deep hook the fish, gut hooking reduces post-release survival rates.
  • Release snapper quickly – the quicker the fish is release, the higher its chances of survival.

Since the 2014 launch of the ‘Snapper Survival’ campaign, many snapper fishers have modified their fishing techniques and reports of dying snapper floating in the Bays are now a thing of the past.

Further information on ‘Snapper Survival’ can be found at

Featured photo by Al McGlashan

Recommended for you

Subscribe to our mailing list

Join our 50,000+ subscribers in receiving our Fishing Lines News delivered straight to your inbox. Don’t miss out on all the issues affecting your fishing, projects improving your fishing and opportunities to have your say about your fishery.

* indicates required
Communication Preferences (tick all that apply)