Rocking fish stocking – new Fisheries Minister gets hands-on for latest metro kingfish release

New Fisheries Minister Don Punch rolled up his sleeves this morning to help Recfishwest release another 5,000 juvenile kingies into metro waters as part of the exciting ongoing metro yellowtail kingfish stocking program.

WATCH: See all of the action from today’s release on our YouTube!

A three-year commitment to stocking kingfish, pink snapper and barramundi is all part of the WA Government’s COVID-19 fishing package announced by Premier Mark McGowan in August — and Recfishwest is proud to drive new initiatives like this that can potentially open up more diverse fishing opportunities for metro fishers.

With international travel restrictions in place for the foreseeable future and the challenges of a COVID world, Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said fishing was more important than ever for people’s relaxation and well-being and support for local economies.

Fisheries Minister Don Punch and Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland with some of the 5,000 kingies released. Picture: Recfishwest

Backing it in with the Send Us Your Skeletons monitoring program 

“I went targeting kingies last weekend near Rotto and managed to find a few,” Dr Rowland said.

“Although the fish were more on the ‘rat’ end of the spectrum and went back, it was great fun fishing and I’m really looking forward to seeing how this stocking program impacts on the metro kingie fishery in the next couple of years.

“Just like the snapper stocking program, all the juvenile kingfish reared for these releases by the DPIRD aquaculture team have their otoliths (ear bones) stained allowing fish from the stocking program to be identified when caught and analysed in the future.

“This is new territory here in WA, which is what makes it so exciting, and there is an important role here for fishers to assist in providing samples to support the science.”

Check out a couple of happy snaps from today’s release 📸

The fish released today should reach legal size round late-2022, Dr Rowland said.

“So, if you are keeping metro kingies for the table in the coming years please consider donating the filleted frames to the terrific Send Us Your Skeletons program run by DPIRD and help build a better understanding of the success of these stock enhancement activities,” he said.

“In the meantime, we’ll keep cranking the handle to get more fish in the water and help protect and enhance your fishing future.”

Yellowtail kingfish, like this one Matt Pullella did battle with, make for formidable opponents. Picture: Brody Ogle