Barramundi are a popular local sports species.

  • Overview


    Crystal Bowl GBR is aiming to examine 3 core measures across a wide range of species in the region:

    • Fishing experience (how many fish per trip)
    • Quality of the fish (size of fish)
    • Community attitudes (number of legal size fish kept or released)


    Fishing Experience

    • T20 Fishers (Sportfishers) catch rate 1.1 fish/fisher/day in 2017 and 0.8 fish/fisher/day in 2018, so far
    • Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys reports catch rate of 0.1 fish/fisher/day
    • Cairns ranked 9th in the state for Barramundi catches based on Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys
    • Slight increase in Barramundi Commercial Catch Rates from 26.7kg/day in 2016 to 27.9kg/day in 2017


    Quality of the Fish

    • The most commonly reported size of barramundi in 2017 by T20 Fishers (Sportfishers) were fish in the 401-500mm size range
    • Average length of Barramundi reported in 2017 Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys was 721mm
    • Cairns ranked 7th in the State for size of Barramundi (based on Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys) however, due to the small sample this ranking may be biased


    Community Attitudes

    • 2017 Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys reported 70% of Barramundi caught were released
    • 76% of fish reported in 2017 were caught by locals
    • Cairns ranked 6th in the state in 2017 for the number of fish released 



  • Assessment

    Limited Take For Consumption Advised

    NOTE: Limited take means recommended no more than 2 fish between 60cm-1m.

    The community has worked hard to secure a Net Free Zone with a view to establishing an improved salt water Barramundi fishing experience. As such we recommend limiting take of Barramundi to allow numbers to build up.

    In general Impoundment Barra fisheries are catch and release.

  • Forecast


    Due to the recent cyclone, Barramundi catch rates are likely to change from recent experiences. An assessment will be conducted later in the year when more catch data is available.

  • Sportfishers

    Barramundi as a Sports Species

    Barramundi are most commonly targetted by Sportfishers in Cairns.

    • Local Sporftishers reported a catch rate of 1.1 fish/fisher/day in 2017 and 0.8 fish/fisher/day in 2018, so far.
    • Most Barramundi reported in 2017 (11 fish) were in the 401-500mm size range and in the 601-700mm size range in 2018 (2 fish), so far


    A detailed snapshot of Barramundi reported by local Sportfishers and Suntaggers is available:

    Cairns Sportfishers

  • Qld FIsheries Boat Ramp Surveys - General Fishers

    Monitoring of Recreational Catch by Qld Fisheries

    Queensland Fisheries monitors boat ramps up and down the coast as a part of the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy. Recreational fishers in Cairns reported catching Barramundi, with a 70% being released in 2017. Monitoring is ongoing in 2018.

    • Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys reported a total of 33 Barramundi caught in cairns in 2017 with an average length of 721mm
    • A Catch Rate of 0.14 fish/fisher/day was reported in 2017
    • 70% of Barramundi caught in Cairns in 2017 were released
    • 76% of all Barramundi reported in 2017 were caught were by locals
    • Highest monthly Catch Rate for Barramundi in 2017 was during May, followed by October


    Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys monitoring dashboard


  • Commercial Fishing

    Commercial Fishing Catch

    Queensland Fisheries monitors commercial catches up and down the coast. Commercial fishers are required to maintain logbooks of catch and report quarterly. The 2017 commercial catch of Barramundi in Cairns (see Area Fished section) contributed <1% to the total statewide catch. Monitoring is ongoing in 2018.

    • Slight increase in Barramundi Commercial Catch Rates from 26.7 kg/day in 2016 to 27.9 kg/day in 2017
    • Number of active licenses has fluctuated between 5 and 7 over the past decade, with 5 active in 2017
    • A decrease in Commercial catch was reported in 2017 (0.5T) compared to 0.8T in 2016


    Cairns Barramundi Commercial Catch Dashboard


  • Lake Tinaroo

    Lake Tinaroo

    Lake Tinaroo has recently been filled by cyclones after a long period of drought which will have affected fishing.  An assessment of fishing will be made during the Barra Bash which is due to take place in September and updates will be posted at that time.



  • Copperlode Dam

    Copperlode Dam

    Copperlode Dam has been stocked in recent years and the fish are starting to grow out with catches between 500mm and 800mm. Copperlode supports both paddle craft and a charter operation with local guide Kim Andersen.  At present limited monitoring data is available but an assessment of catches will be made during an event later in the year.

  • Tourism

    Importance of Barramundi to Tourism

    Barramundi are a tourism drawcard for Cairns, mostly in the Impoundment scene. Events like the Tinaroo Barra Bash bring in visitors from across the North. Copperlode Dam is also an emerging destination for visitors to the region both for paddle craft and Barramundi.



  • Recruitment

    Monitoring of Barramundi Recruitment

    Targeted Barramundi recruitment monitoring in Cairns has commenced in 2018 and will be ongoing. A summary of recruitment survey results is being drafted and will be made available when complete.




  • Monitoring

    Monitoring of Barramundi

    Data for this assessment has been sourced from:

    • Bureau of Meteorology
    • Queensland Fisheries
    • Local Sportfishers and Suntaggers


    Here are links to all the monitoring pages for Barramundi:

  • Area Fished

    Area Assessed

    Barramundi are caught in the estuary, creek and nearshore areas of the Cairns region. Recreationally, they are targeted in inshore areas, particularly in the Barron and Trinity Inlet.  In this assessment Grids H16/H17 have been used for Commercial data.