Study fishes for answers
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.