With 20,000 juvenile pink snapper released into metro waters today after thousands of juvenile yellowtail kingfish were released at South Mole yesterday, Recfishwest are pleased to share an update on the latest round of fish stocking activities.
Check it out! Watch the moment when the pinkies are released into their new home in Cockburn Sound.
Today, Recfishwest assisted the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) aquaculture team release 20,000 juvenile pink snapper into metro waters.
Five thousand of these fish were reared and ready to go for last week’s cancelled Snapper Guardians event.
Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said the fish had to get in the water this week, so it was made sure they were released into Cockburn Sound.
“All these pinkies going into the ocean, came after we and the DPIRD team released of thousands of juvenile yellowtail kingfish at South Mole — the third batch to be hatched and reared at the Department’s aquaculture facility and released into metro waters,” Dr Rowland said.
“These stock enhancement programs are intended to provide us with a boost for future lower west coast pink snapper populations and help make the kingfish fishery off the metro coast even better.
“They form part of the WA Government’s COVID-19 recfishing recovery package announced by Premier Mark McGowan in August last year.”
GALLERY: See the snaps from today’s pinkie release here 📸
Among other great recfishing initiatives, Dr Rowland said this package will see hundreds of thousands of fish being stocked over the next three years.
“It was great to see these pinkies released today and, as one senior DPIRD scientist commented to me: ‘20,000 pink snapper is a lot of fish’,” he said.
“Today’s juvenile snapper were hatched in Freo from eggs collected in the Sound on 7 November last year so they are now 97 days old and 5-6cm long reaching the minimum legal size (50cm) in about four years from now. ”
How can we tell if stocking marine fish works?
But it’s not just the sheer numbers of fish that takes us closer to Recfishwest’s vision.
“We are now working closely with DPIRD scientists to deliver a rigorous and strategic monitoring program to test how effective these stocking activities are,” Dr Rowland said.
“This will tell us about their survival and any increases in abundance and, therefore, critically, how much better we can expect fishing opportunities and experiences in the future to be.
“It’s a big ocean out there and tracking the survival, growth and movements of juvenile fish released into the marine environment is undeniably a big challenge — but this is something you can help with.
“All juvenile fish released as part of these programs have their otoliths (ear bones) stained with special dyes to allow captured fish to be traced years later.
“Fisheries scientists are able to identify these fish through ongoing monitoring programs such as DPIRD’s Send Us Your Skeletons program ultimately allowing us to evaluate stocking success and improve the program design into the future.”
GALLERY: Haven’t seen enough? Check out the kingie release photos! 📸
Snapper Guardians lives to fight another day
The annual community pink snapper release event is one of the highlights of the year in the Recfishwest calendar.
“Snapper Guardians’ popularity shows just how much the local community care about Cockburn Sound and the pink snapper stocks that support such safe, great and accessible fishing experiences on Perth’s doorstep,” Dr Rowland said.
“Rest assured, Snapper Guardians will be back on the beach at Woodman Point with all of you soon, because it’s more important than ever that grandparents, mums, dads and kids can get involved with the fishery and marine environment close to their homes and hearts.
“In the meantime, we can all take great encouragement that the rubber at last appears to be hitting the road in getting a comprehensive marine stocking program up and running.”