The black rockcod (Epinephelus daemelii) is listed as a vulnerable species under the NSW Fisheries Management Act 1994.
The black rockcod is a large reef-dwelling grouper species that occurs in the warm temperate and subtropical waters of the south western Pacific, including off south eastern Australia, Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island, the Kermadec Islands and northern New Zealand.
The species grow to a large size of about 2 m in length and more than 80 kg in weight, although most individuals are substantially smaller. It is a slow-moving, curious and territorial fish that may occupy a particular cave for many years. This behaviour, combined with its slow growth, makes black rockcod vulnerable to overfishing.
Population numbers have been heavily depleted in the past by line fishers and spearfishers. The impacts of line and spear fishing have reduced numbers of black rockcod to a level where it is now unusual to find large black rockcod in areas where they were once common.
A recovery plan has been developed to promote the recovery of black rockcod in NSW to an extent where it can eventually be de-listed from the Schedules of the Fisheries Management Act 1994.
The plan summarises the current state of knowledge of the species and uses a risk assessment framework to identify the threats to the species and rank them in terms of highest to lowest risk. This process is used to identify and prioritise recovery actions to address these risks with the aim of ensuring the recovery of black rockcod populations in NSW.
NSW Trade & Investment coordinates and leads the implementation of the recovery plan, with support from relevant government agencies, commercial and recreational fishers, scuba divers, councils and the community.