FISHERMEN are killing big barramundi because they don't know how to hold them.
The Calliope river produces some of the biggest barramundi in Australia and the attraction of a photo with the mighty fish is resulting in too many deaths.
When people lift the big barras out of the water by their jaw, it causes bleeding in the brain and often results in death.
Vet and BCF Barra Championship winner Scott McAuley said little fish might get away with it but not big ones.
"Because of their weight it breaks a latch in their throat, causing bleeding in their brain and they die," he said.
"They may not die immediately but they will in a day or two."
If the thrill of the catch needs to be documented, Mr McAuley said to get a friend ready with the camera before the fish is out of the water.
"Hug him around his big soft belly without putting pressure on the neck again," he said.
"Wrestle him out for a quick photo and put him straight back in the water."
Mr McAuley said too often the barra were left on a hot tinny deck waiting for a photo to be taken.
"When you're reeling them in, it's a big hard fight for the fish," he said.
"Then they suffocate on a boat for 10 minutes. No wonder they die."