Study fishes for an­swers

Townsville Bulletin - - News -

BAR­RA­MUNDI will soon have one more rea­son to be con­sid­ered a ‘‘ su­per’’ fish.

Apart from its pop­u­lar spot on the din­ner ta­ble, the prized sport­fish is cur­rently un­der the spot­light at James Cook Univer­sity, wher e r e s e a r c h e r s a r e work­ing on de­vel­op­ing ‘‘ su­per’’ bar­ra­mundi that may be bet­ter able to with­stand cli­mate change.

The re­search will also high­light new ways stake­hold­ers in the bar­ra­mundi in­dus­try can man­age and pro­tect the fish­ery.

As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor Dean Jerry said pre­dic­tive cli­mate mod­els sug­gested that be­tween 2030 and 2070 env i r o nmen­tal c o ndi t i o ns could af­fect bar­ra­mundi breed­ing and sur­vival and that fish­eries and aqua­cul­ture may need to adapt to these changes.

Prof Jerry said there had been lit­tle re­search into the l i n k b e t w e e n c l i m a t e change and in­shore, es­tu­ar­ine or fresh­wa­ter fish­eries in trop­i­cal Aus­tralia. ‘‘ One study that has been com­pleted, how­ever, has shown that warm sea tem­per­a­tures, high rain­fall lead­ing to in­creased fresh­wa­ter flows, and low evap­o­ra­tion cor­re­lated strongly with inc r e a s e s i n c o mmerci a l bar­ra­mundi catches from Princess Char­lotte Bay two years af­ter the event,’’ he said.

The Aus­tralian bar­ra­mundi com­mer­cial and aqua­cul­ture fish­ery in­dus­try is es­ti­mated to be worth about $ 80 mil­lion.

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