Stock structure of tropical reef fish

Optimising the management of tropical reef fish through the development of indigenous scientific capability


Thor Saunders

Co-investigators (alphabetical)

Di Barton
Robert Carne
David Crook
Chris Errity
Stephen Newman
Jenny Ovenden
Richard Saunders
Laura Taillebois
Mike Travers
David Welch
Simon Xuereb

Funding body

Supported by funding from the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) on behalf of the Australian Government (project 2013/017)


This project addresses two key needs in northern Australia. The first is to fill in knowledge gaps on the ecology of key coastal reef fish species which have suffered significant declines across the tropics. Recent stock assessments in the Northern Territory have identified current harvest levels to be unsustainable. Managers have been unable to apply appropriate arrangements due to a lack of knowledge on the stock structure of these species. The second need is related to the indigenous community’s aspirations to develop their scientific research capability and to increase their involvement in co-management of their sea country fisheries resources with the aim of developing sustainable indigenous fisheries whose management is underpinned by scientific information collected by indigenous community members.

The three target species are the Golden Snapper (Fingermark Snapper, Lutjanus johnii), Grass Emperor (Lethrinus laticaudis) and Black Jewfish (Protonibea diacanthus). The biological stock structure of the species will be described using three techniques: genetic techniques, otolith microchemistry and parasite species composition.

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