10,000 Barramundi fingerlings to be released into Fitzroy River

Barramundi fishing in the Fitzroy River is set to get boosted at 10,000 barramundi fingerlings will be released upstream of the barrage on Easter Monday.

The fingers will be coming all the way from a hatchery near Bowen and will be the first fingerling release by the Fitzroy River Fish Stocking Association (FRFSA) since 2019.

FRFSA President Andrew McClelland said identifying a reliable supply of suitable barramundi fingerlings had been a constant frustration for the group for many years.

“This latest batch of fingerlings will be coming all the way from Bowen by truck and despite it being Easter Monday, we have to take them when they are available.” Mr McClelland said.

“Fortunately between the stocking group and local fishing club CAPTAG, we should be able to muster enough willing volunteers to make the release a success.”

“This release of fingerlings is vitally important at this time, because natural recruitment of barramundi in the Fitzroy River has been extremely poor for the past five years and that has resulted in there being very few small barramundi coming through.

“It’s times like these when the efforts of the stocking group become doubly important in maintaining some measure of a balanced fish stock size profile in the system.”

He went on to explain how critical weather conditions were to triggering successful natural barramundi recruitment in the wild, and that ideal conditions hadn’t happened in Central Queensland now for close to a decade.

So while there are currently still reasonable stocks of large adult barramundi in the Fitzroy system, there is a significant risk to the balance of the fish population in the foreseeable future unless some smaller fish can be injected into the system via artificial stocking.

“The community are the major beneficiaries of what the stocking group does,” he said. “Ensuring a healthy ongoing barra population in the river is key to optimising the economic benefits already being delivered to our region from the Central Queensland Net Free Zone.”

Funds to enable the purchase of this year’s fingerlings have come from grants from the Rockhampton Regional Council, The Frenchville Sports Club, Stanwell Corporation, Bravus Mining and Guided Fishing Downunder charters.

Anyone interested in joining the FRFSA would be most welcome and local businesses are encouraged to consider supporting the association in the future.

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