Could Rocky become the barramundi capital?
ROCKHAMPTON is famous for being the Beef Capital of Australia, but there are hopes we could also one day become the barramundi capital of the country.
In a bid to boost tourism in the region, Rockhampton region mayor Margaret Strelow is looking to the mighty Fitzroy River's fishing potential.
The fishing push comes after the 2017 barramundi season started with a bang with fishing charters recording mega Barra of up to 1.2 metres being caught.
Hooked Fishing Charters Guide skipper Coby Pascoe said several metre-plus barramundi had been caught since the season opened.
"In the future the Fitzroy River will be known as one of the best Barra fisheries on the east coast of Australia and we'll see a boost from people all over the country wanting a piece of the action," Mr Pascoe said.
With plans under way to capitalise on the region's fishing opportunities, Cr Strelow said fishing in the Rockhampton region could soon rival that of the Northern Territory.
"Tourism for us is brilliant because we have almost none. Every way is up for us. So we're putting focus on that. They're going to come for our fishing," Cr Strelow said.
"Look at the size of the fish people are pulling out of the river.
"People travel to the Northern Territory and spend $5000 for a weekend with the mosquitoes to catch fish that size and we've got it; lean over the railing in the middle of the main street pretty well."
Cr Strelow said Rockhampton Regional Council was making changes to its planning scheme to support the fishing industry, including riverside accommodation options.
"In my mind, those little cottages that we have close to the river close to the CBD are ideal as the equivalent of fishing shacks that you might have in the far north," Cr Strelow said.
"That we allow short term accommodation so the time-strapped fisherman can fly in and bunk for a night or two.
"Council is still exploring and we will go out to community consultation on this shortly but we think there is an area close to the boat club where there are already a lot of worker's cottages that would lend themselves to short term accommodation."
Last year, RRC adopted the Rockhampton Recreational Fishing Development Strategy, started planning for a new boat ramp on the north side of the river and voted to work in cooperation with the Gladstone Ports Corporation to develop a boat ramp proposal for the Port Alma area.
Significant progress has since been made in these areas.