The Coral Sea Fishery includes 16 fishing concessions, catching a wide range of species with a variety of fishing techniques including aquarium, line, trap, trawl, and hand collection. Catch composition varies considerably between years and reflects the exploratory nature of the fishery.

Major species:

Line and Trap Sector
• tropical finfish
• sharks

Trawl and Trap Sector
• tropical finfish and
• crustaceans;

Sea Cucumber Sector
• white teatfish
• surf redfish
• prickly redfish
• black teatfish
• sandfish
• other sea cucumber species.

Lobster and Trochus Sector
• tropical rock lobsters belonging to the genus Panulirus except P. Cygnus.
• No trochus have been caught over the past five years.

Aquarium sector
• Chondrichthys(cartilaginous fishes)
• Osteichthyes(bony fishes)
• invertebrates
• live rock (limestone encrusted with organisms).

NB. The collection of live coral is prohibited in this fishery.

Estimated catch 2010-11:
59 tonnes (excluding the Aquarium Sector).

Gross value of production 2010-11:
Not available


Further progress has been made during 2011-12 to progress individual sector environmental risk assessments and the review of the harvest strategy.

These developments include:

  • implementing arrangements for the take of Humphead Maori Wrasse to meet Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) requirements which came into effect on 1 July 2011; and
  • commencing a process in March 2012 to determine the risks to species taken by the Aquarium Sector in fishery based on Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences advice.


AFMA has made a determination under the Fisheries Management Act 1991 that a management plan for the Coral Sea Fishery is not warranted. The principal legal framework for the management of the fishery is specified in the Act and the Fisheries Management Regulations 1992.

A limited number of fishing permits are granted each year under the Act; these permits are subject to conditions set out in section 32(5), as well as conditions specified on the permits. Each permit includes conditions specific to the sector to which it relates and may also contain conditions specific to the particular permit. Conditions may include limits on the number of persons able to fish under the permit at any time, gear restrictions, species size limits, trigger limits and total allowable catch limits, as well as spatial controls.