Stocking event will see one million barra released into Lake Kununurra, WA

Curt McCartney with a Lake Kununurra barra.

KUNUNURRA community members and holidaymakers are being invited to roll their sleeves up and help release juvenile barramundi this month, as part of a momentous community fish release event.

Taking place near Lily Creek Lagoon boat ramp on Sunday 18 July from 10am, the event will see the one millionth barra released into the lake as part of an ongoing barramundi stocking program.

The release event is being organised by the Lake Kununurra Barramundi Stocking Group (LKBSG) in partnership with Recfishwest and North Regional TAFE, who hatch and grow the juvenile fish at the Broome Aquaculture Centre. Staff from the facility transport the fish across from Broome to stock the fish into the lake using a special oxygenated transportation tank.

The release will give families and children the opportunity to personally release barra into the lake. There will also be LKBSG members on hand to give out fishing advice on how to catch the baby barras’ bigger brothers and sisters! The day will be capped off with a sausage sizzle.

The stocking program has helped establish Lake Kununurra as a world-class barramundi fishery, with metre-plus fish caught by recreational fishers from the lake on a regular basis.

The state government has committed to fund the stocking program – which started in 2013 – over the next three years through the COVID-19 Recfishing Recovery Package, announced last year. Half of this package is funded through recreational fishing licence fees.

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said surpassing the one millionth fish stocked marked a major milestone for stocking program.

“Lake Kununurra’s barramundi stocking program highlights how true fish abundance not only promotes great fishing experiences, but also benefits regional communities,” Dr Rowland said.

“In COVID times, fishing is more important than ever and more WA fishers are looking for new or different locations to wet a line.

“Lake Kununurra provides great fishing for local fishers and draws in visitors to the town who want to catch a magic 1m barra in a safe and accessible setting.

“Reaching the one million barramundi mark is something the Kununurra community and we are very proud of – we’ve consistently worked with the community, North Regional TAFE and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development to get fish stocked in this system for more than eight years.

“The release event should be a cracking day and we’re really looking forward to it – the one millionth fish stocked is a milestone to celebrate.”

Dr Rowland said Kununurra was cementing itself as a must-visit fishing location, with many fishers wanting to chase barra at Lake Kununurra.

“With the Government backing funding for stocking of the lake with barra for the next three years, the fishery looks set to go from strength-to-strength,” Dr Rowland said.

“The success of the stocking program is a testament the local community’s passion, driven by the LKBSG, and their tireless efforts progress and advance this program.”

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