MAINTAINING THE BALANCE: Former Fitzroy River Fish Stocking Association president Lyle McClelland releases some fingerlings in 2017.
MAINTAINING THE BALANCE: Former Fitzroy River Fish Stocking Association president Lyle McClelland releases some fingerlings in 2017. Kim Martin

Restocking the Fitzroy to boost barra numbers

ANGLERS can rejoice when the Fitzroy River Fish Stocking Association releases 5000 barramundi fingerlings upstream of the barrage on Sunday.

The fingerlings will come from a hatchery at Murgon as the stock matches the strain found in the Fitzroy.

The release of fingerlings was once an annual event but due to sourcing issues, the FRFSA last restocked the system two years ago.

Murgon is the furtherest south the group has ever sourced fingerlings, but the FRFSA is confident the fish will take to the slightly warmer waters of the Fitzroy.

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

"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 three years and that has resulted in there being very few small barra coming through," he said.

 

"It is 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."

 

Mr McClelland said weather conditions were critical to triggering successful natural barramundi recruitment in the wild and there hadn't been ideal conditions in Central Queensland for close to a decade.

While there were good stocks of large adult barramundi in the Fitzroy system, it was not necessarily an accurate representation of the health of barra stocks more broadly, he said.

Mr McClelland praised Rockhampton Regional Council for its support of the FRFSA and said the Rocky Barra Bounty tag-and-release event had regularly provided funds for the purchase of barra fingerlings.

"We are so grateful to the council and the Barra Bounty for each contributing $5000 to this latest fingerling release," he said.



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