Project number: 2018-047
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $261,776.73
Principal Investigator: Susannah Leahy
Organisation: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries EcoScience Precinct
Project start/end date: 31 Oct 2018 - 31 Jan 2021


This EOI was developed to address the priority, listed by Queensland RAC in the November 2017 Call for Applications, "To Determine the Proportion of Queensland East Coast (Marine and Estuarine)
Wild Barramundi Catch that is of Hatchery Origin"

- Since 2010 at least 4 million barramundi fingerlings have been released into impounded waterways, coastal lagoons, rivers (and estuaries) of Queensland

- the number of barramundi released annually varies between ~330,000 (2010) and ~794,000 (2015)

- whilst stocked fingerlings may suffer high mortality rates, stocked barramundi do migrate downstream and are caught in the wild-harvest commercial net fishery

- the magnitude of the contribution of stocking to the Queensland east coast population of barramundi is unknown

- this problem has limited quantitative stock assessment of barramundi on the Qld east coast

- DNA parentage analyses is a way to unequivocally identify hatchery origin barramundi and has been developed and validated for barramundi at JCU but it relies on having genotypes of the hatchery broodstock and is expensive per fish

- to be useful for a stock assessment any method needs to be able to be applied over multiple years to provide a time series of data, preferably hind-casting using the historic otolith collections maintained by Fisheries Queensland

- the aim of this project is to develop a cheap and effective method to identify the contribution of stocked fish to current and historic catches (via the Fisheries Queenlsand's otolith collections) to support stock status reporting and quantitative stock assessment


1. To develop a near infrared spectroscopy model that can distinguish between wild origin and hatchery origin barramundi
2. To develop an otolith chemistry model that can distinguish between wild origin and hatchery origin barramundi
3. To compare the results from the models developed in #1 and #2 against an established method (genetics) to distinguish between wild and hatchery origin fish in wild caught barramundi
4. To evaluate and complete a cost-benefit analysis of the approaches developed

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