WANDERLUST: A tagged barramundi measuring 685mm was recently recaptured at Round Hill Creek on July 23 after first being tagged at Raglan Creek on March 6, 2016 at 395mm. It had travelled 200km.
WANDERLUST: A tagged barramundi measuring 685mm was recently recaptured at Round Hill Creek on July 23 after first being tagged at Raglan Creek on March 6, 2016 at 395mm. It had travelled 200km. Suntag

Mystery of barramundi wanderlust in spotlight

TWO barramundi with a severe case of wanderlust have been recently tagged 200km and 80km away from their previous location.

A tagged barramundi measuring 685mm was recently recaptured at Round Hill Creek on July 23 after first being tagged at Raglan Creek on March 6, 2016 at 395mm.

It's estimated to had travelled 200km.

Another tagged barramundi - captured further north - was first tagged at West Hill Creek (near Carmila) and moved 80km south to Stanage Bay.

It was first tagged on August 12, 2018 at 1090mm and recaptured on July 30 at 1150mm.

 

Another tagged barramundi. This one was first tagged at West Hill Creek (near Carmila) and moved 80km south to Stanage Bay. It was first tagged on August 12, 2018 (at 1090mm) and recaptured on July 30 (at 1150mm).
Another tagged barramundi. This one was first tagged at West Hill Creek (near Carmila) and moved 80km south to Stanage Bay. It was first tagged on August 12, 2018 (at 1090mm) and recaptured on July 30 (at 1150mm). Suntag

Suntag's Bill Sawynok said the science was still out regarding the travelling habits of Central Queensland barramundi, but suspected one of a series of flooding events since 2016 was the most likely catalyst for it to move such a great distance.

"That would have been a fish which has spawned at the mouth of the Fitzroy (River). At that size (395mm) it would have been about a year old," Mr Sawynok said.

"Given the opportunity those small barra will move up into fresh water or brackish habitats where they are a little more protected than staying in the salt water.

"They'll stay there for a couple of years and then move out particularly on a flooding event."

Mr Sawynok estimated its journey from Raglan Creek to Round Hill Creek was about 200km, although it could have been much more.

"They don't generally travel over open water and would follow the coastline and go past a creek or river and some of them slip into there or keep going south," he said.

"From Central Queensland we've had barramundi recaptured as far south as the Brisbane River.

"We've also had a lot of fish particularly those which spilt out of Lake Awoonga in 2011 and we've got recaptures of those fish as far south as Hervey Bay."

 

BIG BARRA HOOKED: Hervey Bay angler Lewis Kova with the 6.5kg barramundi hooked off the Urangan Pier on July 1.
BIG BARRA HOOKED: Hervey Bay angler Lewis Kova with the 6.5kg barramundi hooked off the Urangan Pier on July 1. Contributed

Mr Sawynok said the majority of CQ barramundi movements after flooding events were in a southerly direction.

"From the Central Queensland area we get about a 10 per cent movement of fish out of this area and 70 per cent of those head south with only 30 per cent heading north," he said.

"What we are seeing is a fairly consistent transition to the south."

However, Mr Sawynok said the CQ trend wasn't consistent with the rest of Queensland's east coast.

"There are other areas along the coast where the fish predominately move north, but given we are more or less the southern limit of the fish's range it's not unusual to see the movement south rather than north," he said.

"But it's purely speculation at this stage - we don't have any hard evidence in relation to that.

"Interestingly out of the Fitzroy when you get a flood plume it moves north but the fish move south.

"Currents all play a part in it but all we can say is it's more likely fish leaving the area will move south rather than north."



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