10,000 fingerlings released

10,000 barramundi fingerlings were released into the Fitzroy River upstream of the barrage on Easter Monday. Pictures Courtesy of Frenchville Sports Club.

The Fitzroy River Fish Stocking Association (FRFSA) released 10,000 barramundi fingerlings into the Fitzroy River upstream of the barrage on Easter Monday.

Monday’s fingerlings came all the way from a hatchery near Bowen.

This was the first fingerling release by the Stocking Association since 2019, as sourcing of suitable barramundi fingerlings continues to be extremely difficult.

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

“This latest batch of fingerlings will be coming all the way from Bowen by truck and despite it being Easter Monday, we have to take them when they are available.” Mr McClelland said.

“Fortunately between the stocking group and local fishing club CAPTAG, we should be able to muster enough willing volunteers to make the release a success.

“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 five years and that has resulted in there being very few small barra coming through.

“It’s 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,”

He continued about how critical weather conditions were to triggering successful natural barra recruitment in the wild, and that ideal conditions hadn’t happened in Central Queensland now for close to a decade. So while there are currently still reasonable stocks of large adult barra in the Fitzroy system, there is a significant risk to the balance of the fish population in the foreseeable future unless some smaller fish can be injected into the system via artificial stocking.

“The community are the major beneficiaries of what the stocking group does,” he said.

“Ensuring a healthy ongoing barra population in the river is key to optimising the economic benefits already being delivered to our region from the Central Queensland Net Free Zone.

Funds to enable the purchase of this year’s fingerlings have come from grants from the Rocky Regional Council, The Frenchville Sports Club, Stanwell Corporation, Bravus Mining and Guided Fishing Downunder charters.

Mr McClelland said anyone interested in joining the FRFSA would be most welcome and encouraged local businesses to consider supporting the association in the future.