Barramundi bait draws grey nomads to Victoria!

Published: December 13, 2016
Hazelwood power station barramundi

In a dramatic role reversal, thousands of barramundi are being released into waterways at either end of the country and being told to land themselves a grey nomad.

Long-term caravanners and motorhomers are among the target species of tourist that authorities are hoping to draw to their region using the legendary fighting fish as bait.

And, all the indications are that grey nomads angling for some rod and reel action are happily falling for the initiative hook, line and sinker.

In Western Australia, a plan hatched in 2012 to turn Lake Kununurra into one of Australia’s greatest fishing locations courtesy of a barramundi stocking program is startying to pay off.  Some 550,000 barramundi fingerlings were released into the lake and metre-long  fish are now being landed.

Local angler Dick Pasfield told the ABC that Lake Kununurra could become a fishing paradise for the Kimberley, and had the potential to create all kinds of economic benefits to the region.

“A successful barramundi fishery on Lake Kununurra would be one of the more significant drawcards to the region, bringing in tourism dollars spread across many businesses,” he said. “Additionally, it will provide a great fishery for locals who would be able to combine everything they currently do on the lake, such as swimming and picnicking, with fishing for barramundi, involving all the family in a safe environment — something not possible on the lower Ord River.”

For barra hunters looking for the ultimate fishing venue safe from the crocodile threat, however, then Victoria’s  Latrobe Valley is the place to be  … but for a limited time only.

When it was announced in April that the Hazelwood power station was to close, about 7,000 barramundi were released into the power station’s warm cooling ponds and people entered a ballot for the chance to catch one of the prized fish.

Fisheries Victoria executive director Travis Dowling told the ABC that more than 14,000 people registered for the ballot.

“People have registered for the ballot from Western Australia, Queensland, Humpty Doo in the Northern Territory all across Victoria,” he said.  “Everyone wants a chance to catch a Victorian barra.”

However, the ABC reports that fishermen only have only a short time to land the legend.

When the plant closes in March, the water temperature will drop and any of the remaining warm water fish will struggle to survive.

“The barramundi will start to find it increasingly difficult, if there are any left in the pondage of course,” said MP for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing.  “Hopefully we’ll manage to get everyone to find them before such time as they don’t find these waters viable anymore.”

Testing has revealed the fish, which have grown in the shadow of one of the country’s dirtiest power stations, are safe to eat.

·         Would either of these barramundi initiatives persuade you to adjust your travel plans? Comment below

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John Rodgers
5 years ago

Would love to see this happen in some of our large Dams in Central and South south/ west / east Queensland where of course there are no Crocs.
Great draw card for grey nomads to Queensland, although going on the huge influx of “mexicans” ( our state cousins) this would just be an idea ” Getaway”
One can only hope.

Kev Young
5 years ago

You will have to hurry if you want to catch one of these in the pondage. Once the station closes in April this year the Barra will slowly die off as the water cools. As for eating anything you catch, think long and hard before cooking it.

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