KEEP OR RELEASE?
HERE'S THE FACTS
While you are well within your rights to keep any fish over the minium size, providing it's within your bag limit; the keeping or releasing of XOS snapper has become a hot topic of discussion lately.
The debate predominantly centres over whether large snapper are more important for the reproduction of the fishery and hence should be released; after an obligatory photo as proof of course. Yes, the angry Facebook comments are true! Bigger fish are better breeders. A 2014 report in the New Zealand Journal or marine and Freshwater Research concluded that the removal of bigger/older snapper may have disproportionate consequences for the overall fish population. Older/bigger snapper generally spawn at better times, better places and often result in higher growth rates. A 25cm snapper might produce 80,000-300,000 eggs per season, where as a 50cm fish may produce 4-6 million eggs per season. Snapper reach sexual maturity between 20cm-30cm (2-5 years old). Snapper can grow up to one-metre-long and 60 years old. Not all snapper grow at the same rate. As an example it is possible that a 28cm and 58cm snapper could both be the same age. SOURCE: Snapper: a review of life history and key vulnerabilities in New Zealand; DM Parsons et al New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research Vol. 48, Iss. 2, 2014