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- Barramundi are caught in commercial gillnet fisheries in coastal waters, estuaries and river mouths in QLD, WA and NT waters.
- Barramundi populations in WA are likely healthy.
- Gillnets catching barramundi also catch significant numbers of protected and vulnerable wildlife as bycatch, including dolphins, crocodiles and sawfish.
- Extensive science-based marine park protections throughout the fishery area and the relatively small scale of the fishery reduce the risk posed by the fishery to bycatch species and vulnerable habitats.
- WA Kimberley Gillnet and Barramundi Fishery (67t in 2021)
Barramundi are a tropical predatory fish found throughout the coastal areas of the tropical Indo-West Pacific.
Barramundi can live in both fresh and saltwater, maturing upstream before migrating to estuaries and coastal waters to spawn. Because of their fresh-saltwater spawning cycle, Barramundi populations are highly dependent on rainfall in the wet season.
A program of scientific assessment and modernised management arrangements for the fishery has recently been introduced, which is welcome. There are several populations or stocks of barramundi that are fished around northeastern QLD and the Kimberley.
There are no scientific assessments of barramundi populations in the WA fishery, but the small scale of the fishery and presence of extensive best-practice marine parks throughout the Kimberley’s coastal waters likely provide significant protection to the fishery. Barramundi popullations are likely to be in healthy condition.
Barramundi are targeted using commercial gillnets deployed on the seafloor in coastal and estuarine waters.
Given the indiscriminate nature of the gillnet fishing methods used, barramundi fisheries have high levels of bycatch, including dolphins, crocodiles and sawfish, Recently established marine parks in WA are likely to confer a significant degree of protection to endangered species.
There is no program of independent scrutiny of fisher bycatch reports in the WA fishery, which is a concern offset by the small scale of the fishery.