Fitzroy Barra Bonanza

Minister Mark Furner, Mayor Tony Williams and Barry O’Rourke. Picture: Supplied

Locals have been hooking huge Barra and King Threadfin Salmon in what has been a boom since gill nets were removed from the Fitzroy River.

Greg Stoltz wrote about this a few weeks back in the Sunday Mail, saying we were in the “midst of a big barra bonanza”.

Before the gillnets were removed in 2015, commercial fishing took approximately 86 tons of barra and 56 tons of threadfin each year from the Fitzroy, leaving very little behind for our recreational fishers.

As I’m sure many local recreational fishers remember, almost all barra caught were undersized and it was actually very difficult to catch any sort of fish.

Now Barramundi reeled in at Rockhampton and Mackay have jumped in size by almost 25 percent and 13 percent respectively, according to a report by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature.

Meanwhile, more than 60 percent of the prized King Threadfin salmon caught in Rockhampton’s Fitzroy River are now exceeding a meter in length, compared with just 2 percent of the catch before the ban.

We’re lucky to have some of the best fishing competitions like The Fitzroy’s $10K Thready Competition, as well as the Frenchville Sports Clubs Barra Bash. I’m very pleased to say that the Palaszczuk

government contributes funding towards this great event.

Last year’s Big Barra Bash Catch and Release Competition, which was limited to 100 teams, competitors caught 164 barra and 69 Threadfin Salmon.

A total of 12 Barramundi across the three days were over the magic meter and the biggest Barra of the comp was 128cm and the biggest Threadfin Salmon measured 147cm, a monster of a fish.

We have seen recreational fishing on the improve in Rockhampton and Mackay and our tourism grow, meaning more jobs for locals and a cash injection for our economy.

People can fly into Rocky from Brisbane, only an hour’s flight, and they can stay in five-star hotels where you can almost cast a fishing line off their balcony into the Fitzroy.

Recreational fishing is an important way of life for many in Central Queensland and it is great to see how good this is for our local community.