- The State Government invested $700,000 to restock Lake Kununurra
- Recreational fishing in the East Kimberley to benefit as fish grow to legal size
The final batch of barramundi fingerlings destined for Lake Kununurra will be released over the next fortnight, completing the restocking component of the Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy-funded project.
Fisheries Minister Ken Baston said 80,000 juvenile fish were put into the lake late yesterday, with a further 70,000 fingerlings, measuring about 50mm long, to be released in early October.
Mr Baston said it would bring the total restocking numbers to 550,000 barramundi - well above the planned 520,000 estimated when the project was announced in 2012.
"Kimberley Training Institute (KTI) has successfully bred the barramundi from locally sourced brood stock and raised hundreds of thousands of juvenile fish for release into Lake Kununurra," he said.
"It is expected the juvenile fish will take time to grow to legal size, but there are already reports that recreational fishers are now starting to catch barramundi in Lake Kununurra which were released as part of this project.
"In the long term, the project will also add to the tourism potential of the East Kimberley as fishers are attracted to Lake Kununurra to enjoy the experience of catching a big barramundi."
The Minister said the most contemporary fish tagging techniques had been used to help monitor the success of the restocking project.
"All the fingerlings have been 'marked' with a non-toxic fluorescent dye (calcein) to allow non-lethal identification of restocked fish using UV light," he said.
"The use of this non-toxic dye means people don't have to worry if they eat any of these fish, but this innovative and world-class tagging technique will aid in assessing the effectiveness of the overall project."
Mr Baston said the project had already provided enormous practical experience for students at the institute in Broome.
- The recreational fishing guide 2015 is available at http://www.fish.wa.gov.au
- For more on the institute, visit http://www.kti.wa.edu.au/
- The Australian Seafood Industry National Conference, Seafood Directions 2015, will be held in Perth from October 25-27
Minister's office - 6552 5400
Pictured: KTI portfolio manager Jeff Cooper and Fisheries Minister Ken Baston with some of the 150,000 barramundi fingerlings that will make their way to Lake Kununurra from Broome.