Lake Kununurra in WA’s East Kimberley has been restocked with barramundi, surpassing 1 million fish as part of government efforts to lure more recreational fishers to the area.
The government initiative, which saw barramundi fingerlings added to their natural range within Lake Kununurra eight years ago, is all part of a plan to bolster the draw of the East Kimberley as a ‘tourism mecca’.
WA fisheries minister Don Punch said trophy-sized barramundi and the ‘world-class still-water fishery’ that was Lake Kununurra had quickly established the region’s reputation among recreational fishers.
“Recreational fishing helps boost regional economies and create local tourism jobs and we’re committed to more releases across the next three years, with the barra stocking tally likely to pass two million by then,” Punch said.
On Sunday, the latest barramundi restock saw records hit one million fish restocked into the estuary.
Broome’s north regional TAFE has managed the broodstock collection, breeding and restocking program since 2012. The TAFE grows the fingerlings, which reach a minimum legal length of 55cm in less than three years.
“Kununurra’s energetic local barramundi stocking group and North Regional TAFE, encouraged and supported by Recfishwest, have done some excellent work building and shaping the lake’s fishing future in reaching the one million mark,” Punch said.
In 2020 the state government committed a $6 million stimulus package for recreational fishing to support projects such as the Lake Kununurra restocking program
Local politician Divina D’Anna said the program was important in transforming the East Kimberley into a world-class destination for recfishers across Australia.
“With 750,000 Western Australians going fishing every year, we want to see them heading up north to stay and spend in the Kimberley on local job-creating fishing trips,” D’Anna said.
“I am delighted the government has committed to fund a further three years of the program through the WA Recovery Plan and I look forward to hearing even more stories of great barra catches from locals and tourists alike.”