New Zealand Fishing World - - Trophy Fish -

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

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