FISHING TAILS: Barra now a whole lot easier to predict

REELING ’EM IN: David Plant with a nice salty barra from the bottom end of the river.
REELING ’EM IN: David Plant with a nice salty barra from the bottom end of the river. Contributed

PREDICTING barramundi stocks just got a whole lot easier thanks to a unique process developed in Central Queensland.

The Crystal Bowl gained international attention last week at the EIFAAC International Symposium on Recreational Fisheries in Lillehammer in Norway.

It was the only Australian presentation at the conference and was reported as being an invaluable contribution.

The presentation coincided with the release of the 2015 mid-season Crystal Bowl review of barramundi stocks, which indicated that most predictions were close to the mark.

Infofish Australia manager and leader of the Crystal Bowl project, Bill Sawynok, said that catch rates were down this year and expected to fall further in 2016.

"However the good news is that recruitment - the numbers of baby barramundi this year - is the third best in the past 15 years, one positive contribution from Cyclone Marcia... these fish will reach legal size in 2018," Mr Sawynok said.

"The bad news is that 2016 is likely to be the toughest year since 2007 for legal-sized fish in the river."

The news for Gladstone is better in that 75% of barramundi there are over legal size compared with 13% in the Fitzroy River, as caught by recreational taggers.

Mr Sawynok said our ability to predict fish stocks was still improving and not quite in the class of weather predictions.

"But we are working on improving the accuracy and reliability of the forecasts," he said.

Topics:  barramundi fishing outdoor-living

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