Brooke Frecklington
Brooke Frecklington Contributed.

Mixed results for Gladstone's barra-hungry fishos

THE latest data from InfoFish Australia's mid-season review on barramundi recruitment numbers has delivered mixed news for the Gladstone region but there's a silver lining on the horizon.

InfoFish Australia's main findings of concern revealed that trophy fish, which are fish over one metre in size, have significantly declined in numbers over the last couple of years.

The other concern was a recruitment forecast of poor/moderate, which has been attributed to dry conditions during the recruitment season from January to March.

While the outlook isn't ideal, Rockhampton manager of InfoFish Australia Bill Sawynok said the findings were acceptable given the climate conditions experienced earlier this year.

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"This year in the Fitzroy (River) the recruitment numbers are moderate to strong and normally that's reflected in Gladstone as well, but this year we're looking at poor to moderate recruitment in the Gladstone area for barra," Mr Sawynok said.

"Recruitment of barramundi is very much dependent on rainfall and river flows. We had some good flows in the Fitzroy in January that were helpful for recruitment, but Gladstone missed out completely.

"There were very dry conditions right through the main recruitment period."

Bill Sawynok from InfoFish Australia
Bill Sawynok from InfoFish Australia Allan Reinikka

Mr Sawynok said the rain dumped on the Gladstone region as a result of ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie had no impact on the recruitment season.

"The rainfall and river flows we got from Debbie were too late in the recruitment period, but on the positive side the fish that spilled from Awoonga this year will certainly top up stocks in the Boyne River at least," he said.

On a positive note Mr Sawynok said anglers should catch more legal sized barramundi during 2017.

"In the last two years natural recruitment in the Gladstone area has been pretty poor, but 2015 was pretty good so what you'll see is those fish start to enter legal size this year," he said.

"Along with the fish spilt over from Awoonga we should see an upward trend in the catch rate."

Mr Sawynok also expects the catch rate for bream to increase after data from the Boyne Tannum Hookup.



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