Stocking and stock enhancement ensures high quality fishing experiences are maintained and enhanced for the West Australian community, forever. From marron to pink snapper in the State’s south, barramundi in the north and trout in the South West, Recfishwest supports many stocking and stock enhancement projects throughout WA.
There are many research providers around WA that we partner with, that do a great job in providing fish stocking projects to benefit the community, including the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) Fremantle-based Aquaculture Centre and Broome’s Aquaculture Centre at the Northern Regional TAFE.
DPIRD’s Policy on Restocking and Stock Enhancement in Western Australia underpins these efforts. Recfishwest was instrumental in the development of this policy.
Barramundi are one of the most iconic sportfish in Australia. Caught in both salt and freshwater, people travel from around the world to catch the 1m Holy Grail!
Lake Kununurra, an East Kimberley fishing gem
Since 2013, the trailblazing Lake Kununurra fish stocking program has stocked barramundi into the Kimberley waterway.
From small things, mighty things grow and with the holy grail of 1m-long barra regularly being caught and 120cm fish not a rarity.
A collaborative effort among the Lake Kununurra Barramundi Stocking Program, North Regional TAFE and DPIRD, the program continues to go from strength-to-strength.
With the one millionth barra stocked into Lake Kununurra on 18 July, 2021, the fishery is rapidly establishing itself as a world-class fishing destination and a ‘must-go-to’ on recfishers’ hit-lists. Read more about the program here.
WATCH: As the ONE MILLIONTH barra is released into the Lake!
All of the barra released into Lake Kununurra are breed at North Regional TAFE’s Broome Aquaculture Centre.
The Broome Aquaculture Centre will play an important part in fulfilling part of the recreational fishing COVID recovery package.
Beautiful barramundi at Broome
Stocking of barramundi in waters near Broome has also occurred since 2013, with thousands of fish released at both Crab Creek and Willie Creek.
Tagging these fish allows the Broome Aquaculture Centre to track how these fish are going with local fishers reporting recaptures of stocked fish.
To-date, there has been enough recaptures to deem that stocking program a success.
The exciting marron stocking program, launched with Premier Mark McGowan in 2019, will see 300,000 marron released into South West freshwater waterways over three years from 2021 to 2023.
With marron stocked into accessible dams near towns such as Waroona and Harvey less than two hours’ drive from Perth, it is a great program for WA’s 10,000 fishers who hold marron licences.
Marron are a South West icon, providing a unique and family-friendly fishing experience.
However, declining annual rainfall across the South West and south coast is placing environmental pressure on freshwater species in the State’s south, including marron populations.
All of the already released marron and to-be-released specimens are bred at Aquafarms’ aquaculture hatchery in Capel, where they are nurtured through the most vulnerable stage of their lifecycle.
Releasing one-year-old marron maximises the animals’ post-release survival rates.
Freshwater trout in the South West
Trout stocking takes place every year to replenish popular freshwater fishing rivers and dams.
Trout are stocked in three discrete age classes:
The biggest amount stocked, is of fry, these fish are about three to five centimetres long and in most years the quantity is about 450,000 fish. These fish will take a couple of years to grow to legal size.
The next size of fish released is the yearlings. These fish are from 8 to 12 months old which will range in size from about 20 to 25cm in length. These fish will become legal size in the year of release or the next year.
The third type of fish released is the ex brood stock, or the old breeding fish. These are used for a year or two for their eggs and sperm and then replaced. Brood stock stockings, while very low, are big fish and are prized captures by those that manage to land them.
Troutfest is part of a carefully managed South West stocking program using freshwater fishing licence revenue to enhance the fishery and improve freshwater fishing experiences.
More than 20,000 mulloway have been released as part of a project focused on restoring mulloway stocks in the Mid West and throughout the lower west coast of WA.
It provides an opportunity to better understand the species’ movement patterns. Recreational fishers have collected mulloway fin clip samples from along the west coast to determine genetic distribution of the species.
ACAAR (Australian Centre for Applied aquaculture Research), can culture juvenile mulloway from captured broodstock, refining culture techniques for the species, developing marking methods to be able to identify the cultured fish, and releasing them into locations favourable to their survival. The project is managed by the WA Fish Foundation.
Western school prawn
Prawning was once a popular Perth pastime, with hundreds of families spending balmy summer nights on the Swan and Canning rivers. In recent years anecdotal evidence has suggested a significant decline in prawn stocks.
Funding generated from recreational fishing licence revenue seeks to turn back the clock. The decline in prawn numbers over the last decade has highlighted the need to protect and restore our important estuaries and catchment areas.
This program will be backed by solid research which will help scientists understand the status of prawn populations, and has currently seen more than 4.5 million prawns put back into the Swan River. The project is being managed by the West Australian Fish Foundation, an organisation focused on fish stocking and stock enhancement following best practice principles. Other project partners include the Swan River Trust and ACAAR (Australian Centre for Applied aquaculture Research).
The release was made possible following a scientific breakthrough in 2013 which saw a world-first achieved with the development of techniques to culture river prawns in ACAAR’s Fremantle laboratory.
Murdoch University is still monitoring prawns in the river to try and determine the factors inhibiting their natural recruitment.
This project was made possible by the Swan River Trust, Challenger Institute of Technology and the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund and is supported by Recfishwest and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.