Report shows latest trends in Gladstone barramundi stocks
THE 2015 mid-season Crystal Bowl review of Barramundi stocks showed that the catch rates in the Gladstone region were better than predicted, with a 1% rise from 2014.
This week the Crystal Bowl gained international recognition at the EIFAAC International Symposium on Recreational Fisheries held in Lillehammer in Norway.
It was the only Australian presentation at the conference and was reported as being an invaluable contribution to the conference.
The presentation at the conference coincided with the release of the 2015 mid-season Crystal Bowl review of Barramundi stocks.
The commercial catch for the start of the season was down 37% and for recreational fish taggers was down 43%.
For Gladstone the catch rate for legal sized fish was also predicted to fall 30-50%.
There was no change in the commercial catch for the start of the season while for recreational taggers the catch rate was down 40%.
It is expected that the commercial catch rate may be better than predicted as more large Barramundi left Lake Awoonga when it spilled in Jan-Mar and ended up in the Boyne River and Gladstone Harbour.
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.
Infofish Australia manager Bill Sawynok and leader of the Crystal Bowl project said that catch rates were down this year due to harvest levels by commercial and recreational fishers exceeding the numbers of new recruits entering the fishery over the past 3 years. He said catch rates for 2016 are expected to fall further.
"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." Mr Sawynok added.
The Crystal Bowl report is available here.