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Mid-Season Forecasts for Fitzroy 2016 (high reliability)


  • Greater uncertainty in forecasts for 2016 due to the introduction of Fitzroy/Keppel Bay Net Free Area and
  • commercial catch reduced to 0 however remains in high reliability range
  • Strong recruitment in the Fitzroy River in 2013, moderate in 2014 and strong in 2015 will mean significantly more undersized fish
  • Fish from 2013 recruitment will mostly be legal size boosting numbers of fish from 580-650mm
  • Fitzroy River catch rates overall and for legal size fish predicted to increase
  • Recruitment forecast to be poor and mid-season assessment is poor


Fish in size range 0-449mm 45-65%
Fish in size range 450-579mm 10-30%
Fish in size range 580-799mm 5-25%
Fish in size range 800-1200mm 0-20%



Taggers Catch Rates Overall 3.2-3.9 fish/tagger/day
Legal fish 0.5-0.6 fish/tagger/day
Bounty Catch Rates Overall 1.0-1.2 fish/tagger/day
Legal 0.3-0.4 fish/tagger/day



Taggers catch rates for overall fish compared with 2015 Up 0-20%
Taggers catch rate for legal fish compared with 2015 Up 10-30%
Bounty catch rates for overall fish compared with 2015 Up 10-30%
Bounty catch rate for legal fish compared with 2015 Up 15-35%



Barramundi tags in river
Worst-case scenario 60% annual reduction in tags
including 10% non–reporting tags Stock level middle-case scenario
50% annual reduction in tags
Stock level best-case scenario
40% annual reduction in tags
Tagged fish 2016 1,800-2,200
Down 5% to Up 15% compared with 2015



Recruitment Poor <0.5 recruit/fisher/day



Recruitment Low numbers of recruits 0-100 Risk of fish kill if rainfall low to Oct 2016



NINO 34 projections

from BOM website


Neutral to La Niña conditions to end of 2016



Rainfall outlook

from BOM website BOM Climate Outlook

75-80% of above median rainfall


BOM_RAINFALL[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]Environmental conditions[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]The Fitzroy River was where the Crystal Bowl idea started. From around 2003-2007 there was an extended dry period and Barramundi stocks were considered to be in fairly poor shape. However fishing activity was largely business as usual with only poor catch rates having an influence of fishing effort. It was determined that predicting what stocks might be like into the future was the best way to influence decisions and fisher behavior. So the Crystal Bowl idea was born and the first forecasts were made in 2011.

The Crystal Bowl forecasts are applied to the tidal estuary of the Fitzroy River downstream from the barrage at Rockhampton and all the tributaries on the delta and the top end of Curtis Island. Suntag grid maps FRR, RAG and CIS cover the area included.

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]DATA SOURCES

Data used in the Fitzroy Crystal Bowl are:

  • Tag and catch records from Captag and other local taggers for maps FRR, RAG and CIS from http://qld.info-fish.net
  • Recapture records of tagged fish from http://qld.info-fish.net
  • Commercial catch for QFISH grids R29 and R30 from http://qfish.daf.qld.gov.au to 2015 (Net Free Zone from 2016)
  • Tagged fish in commercial catch from seafood processors to 2015
  • Tag and catch records from Rocky Barra Bounty from http://qld.info-fish.net
  • Long Term Monitoring Program age records from DAF
  • Recruitment surveys for Suntag maps FRR, RAG and CIS from http://qld.info-fish.net
  • River flow records for Fitzroy River at the Gap station 130005A from https://water-monitoring.information.qld.gov.au
  • Rainfall records for Rockhampton station 049083 from http://www.bom.gov.au/ and Cheetham Saltworks station at 12 Mile Creek from Cheetham Salt
  • Rainfall outlook for Rockhampton and Bajool from http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/outlooks/#/rainfall/median/seasonal/0
  • BOM long range NINO34 forecasts from http://www.bom.gov.au/
  • Stocked fish records from Stocking Groups in the Fitzroy catchment