Project number: 2009-040
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $549,951.00
Principal Investigator: John Russell
Organisation: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries EcoScience Precinct
Project start/end date: 30 Aug 2009 - 31 Jul 2012


Recreational fish stocking is widely practiced throughout Australia and has delivered considerable benefits to anglers and substantial economic flow-on effects have been previously documented in some fisheries (Rutledge et al. 1991). The long-term “success” of freshwater fish stocking in Queensland and other States is, however, contingent on demonstrating that it is an ecologically sustainable practice having no detrimental effects on wild populations and ecosystems. Some environmental groups and government agencies (e.g. Wet Tropics Management Authority) are now questioning if freshwater fish stocking is a sustainable activity and the Threatened Species Scientific Committee considered a nomination to list the introduction of live native or non-native fish into Australian watercourses that are outside their natural geographic distribution as a key threatening process. One of the criteria that fisheries managers now use for assessing freshwater fish stocking applications is the risk that they pose to local aquatic communities, although there is very little real information on the likely ecological and genetic impacts of native freshwater fish stocking activities to support this decision making process. This type of information is therefore urgently needed if our stocking industry is to adopt “world’s best practice” to ensure future sustainability.
These same concerns were expressed at a recent FRDC national expert workshop “Towards responsible native freshwater fish stocking” where the potential ecological and genetic impacts of fish stocking, particularly for barramundi and Murray cod, were nominated as the most pressing research and management issues. This proposed project and another being developed on Murray cod, are part of a coordinated national response to these critical issues.


1. Assess movements and ecological impacts of stocked barramundi in a model river and impoundment
2. Determine if barramundi stocking has any discernable adverse genetic impacts on wild populations in a previously stocked river system

Final report

ISBN: 9 780734 504333
Author: John Russell

Related research


Strengthening the ABFA Quality Framework

1. Industry quality standards for farmed Australian Barramundi are to be enhanced and implemented
Australian Barramundi Farmers Association (ABFA)