Sweetlip Emperor Fishing
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Sweetlip Emperor Fishing
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Sweetlip Emperor (Lethrinus miniatus)
- Size 90 cm
- Food Value Good
- Game Qualities Average
- Habitats Nearshore, Offshore, Reef
One look at the Sweetlip Emperor and you’ll see where this fish got her name! Also known as Sweetlip Swoose, Trumpet Emperor, Redthroat Emperor, and Lipper, this Emperor species is characterized by its unusually long face.
Sweetlip Emperors can grow to 90 cm in length and typically weigh around 5.3 kg. As they age and grow, they change their sex from female to male.
When and Where
Sweetlip Emperors live throughout the western Pacific Ocean, but they’re mainly found around the Great Barrier Reef (especially in the central and southern sections). Anglers in Australia typically catch Sweetlip Emperor while fishing anywhere from southern Queensland around the bottom of the country and halfway up the coast of Western Australia. When they’re young, these fish live in grass beds and mangrove swamps close to shore, then move farther from the coast when they become adults.
This species only spawns in warm water, which leads to slightly different spawning seasons in different parts of the country. Off the coast of Townsville, Sweetlip Emperors mate in June and August, but spawn almost all the time up north by Cairns. In waters further south, they mate in October and November.
Since Sweetlip Emperor is classified as a coral reef fin fish, it is closed to harvest for a certain period each year along with other similar species (usually around October or November).
How to Fish
You can catch Sweetlip Emperor by bottom fishing. Crab, mollusc, and fresh fish baits are effective. You can get a good feeding frenzy going by tempting schools of Emperor with burley (chum). Targeting these fish on light tackle is lots of fun!
Good to Eat?
Sweetlip Emperor tastes very good, and has long been coveted by recreational and commercial fishermen alike. Sadly, this has led to overfishing and the species is now threatened. The Australian government has implemented closed seasons and bag limits in an effort to preserve Sweetlip Emperor populations. If you aren’t intent on eating your catch, it’s best to return it to the reef so it can swim to see another day!
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