Barramundi are a popular local sports species.  While natural conditions are poor for recruitment of Barramundi, fish are stocked at Lake Awoonga which does periodically top up local stocks.  When in it's prime, Lake Awoonga is an important tourism destination for Barramundi fishers.

  • Overview

    Overview - Crystal Bowl Rated Premium Fishery

    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


    Fishing Experience

    • 2017 T20 Fishers (Sportfishers) catch rate 2.0 fish/fisher/day
    • Gladstone ranked 2nd in the state for wild Barramundi catch rate based on Suntag data
    • Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys reports catch rate of 0.45 fish/fisher/day
    • Gladstone ranked 4th in the state for Barramundi catches based on Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys.
    • Slight decline in Bream Commercial Catch Rates, dropping from 93.7kg/day (2015) to 64.9kg/day (2017 Incomplete)


    Quality of the Fish

    • 2017 T20 Fishers (Sportfishers) average fish size was 675mm
    • 8.2% of fish reported were trophy fish, the highest ratio in the state.
    • 2017 Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys 752.5mm
    • Gladstone Ranked 2nd in the State for size of Barramundi (based on Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys - based on min 40 fish reported)


    Community Attitudes

    • 100% of 2017 trips complied with the Voluntary Code of Practice implemented in Rockhampton
    • 88% of fish reported at Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp surveys are released
    • 86% of fishers surveyed are local.



  • Assessment

    Limited Take For Consumption Advised

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

    As this species is primarily a Sports Species, and given the high release rate amongst sport fishers, recommend maximum 2 fish taken in any one session.

  • Forecast


    Full 2018 Barramundi Forecast

    T20 Fishers

    • There will be a reduction in the percentage of legal fish in the catch due to the size range of fish spilling from Awoonga in 2017 being predominantly 500-700mm
    • Overall catch rate and catch rate for legal fish will remain steady but may increase if fish spill from Lake Awoonga again as is possible in early 2018 (Feb-Apr)
    • Catch rates in the Boyne River likely to be higher than for remainder of Gladstone Harbour due to fish spilling from Lake Awoonga in 2017 with little evidence of these fish moving beyond the Boyne River
    • Stock level to remain steady with natural and fishing mortality likely to be offset by additional fish spilling from Awoonga

    Commercial Fishers

    • Commercial Barramundi catch data for 2017 is only available for Feb-Sep and that indicates catch and catch rates are within the forecast range
    • Commercial catch and effort data will be updated when complete 2017 data are available

    Environmental conditions

    • Neutral to slightly La Niña conditions are forecast for the recruitment period (Jan-Apr) with an average wet season with neutral conditions for the remainder of the year
    • Forecast for Gladstone catchments is a 50-60% chance of exceeding median rainfall from Feb-Apr and rainfall to date suggests that conditions may not be conducive to good recruitment (expected)

    Heavy harvesting of Barramundi is not recommended. Natural recruitment of Barramundi in Gladstone is poor to moderate even in good conditions. Top up stocks from Awoonga maintain stock levels but this population is vulnerable to localizedstock reduction if Awoonga dam levels drop.


  • Sportfishers

    Barramundi as a Sports Species

    Barramundi are most commonly targetted by Sportfishers in Gladstone. Since the overtopping of Lake Awoonga in 2010 numbers and sizes of Barramundi in the wild fishery have increased dramatically. Repeated overtoppings since then have ensured that the Barramundi fishery outside Awoonga has remained well above historical levels, even though this has come at the expense of the quality of the fishing experience in Lake Awoonga.

    • Gladstone Sportfishing Club catch rate of 2.0 fish/fisher/day
    • 2017 Gladstone Sportfishing Club average fish size was 675.9mm


    A detailed snapshot of tagging by the Gladstone Sportfishing Club and Suntaggers is available:

    Gladstone Suntag Results
    2017 End of Season Report

  • lake Awoonga

    Barramundi in Lake Awoonga

    The Barramundi fishing experience in Lake Awoonga has been significantly down from it's peak in the late 2000's affecting local tourism. Chater operators did not operate in Awoonga for an extended period due to difficulties in finding fish. In 2018 there has been renewed interest in Awoonga, while sizes of fish are still down, catch rates are improving. Local fishers have already outperformed their previous years result.

    A detailed snapshot of tagging by the Gladstone Sportfishing Club and Suntaggers is available:

    Lake Awoonga Monitoring

  • 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. General Fishers in Gladstone rarely report catching Barramundi, with a 88% of fish being released in 2017. Monitoring is ongoing in 2018.

    • Only 41 Barramundi were reported in Boat Ramp Surveys
    • 2017 Catch Rate of 0.45 fish/fisher/day
    • 2017 Average size fish 752.5mm


    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 Gladstone (S30,S31) represents 2.58% share of the total statewide catch. Monitoring is ongoing in 2018.

    • Slight decline in Barramundi Commercial Catch Rates, dropping from 93.7kg/day (2015) to 64.9kg/day (2017 Incomplete)
    • Number of active licenses has fluctuated between 11 and 22 in the past decade
    • Commercial catch in 2017 is 0,6T (data incomplete), 1.17T in 2016.


    Gladstone Barramundi Commercial Catch Dashboard


  • Charter Fishing

    Charter Fishing Catch

    Queensland Fisheries monitors charter catches up and down the coast. LImited data is available on Commercial Charter of Barramundi, with only 5 licences logging 45 active days for 0.02T of fish since 1997.  

  • Tourism

    Importance of Barramundi to Tourism

    Barramundi are a tourism drawcard for Gladstone, particularly when Lake Awoonga has good stock levels of larger Barramundi as this

    Several charter operators target Barramundi servicing both locals and visitors. Johny Mitchel has also developed a fishing master class based on his experiences with Barramundi which draws in fishers from around the country to develop their techniques. Masterclass information is available at


  • Recruitment

    Monitoring of Barramundi Recruitment

    Barramundi Recruitment in Gladstone is monitored ongoing. A summary of recruitment was included in the end of year review for gladstone.
    • Dry conditions largely persisted through to Apr 2017 resulting in poor conditions for recruitment
    • The remnants of Cyclone Debbie brought flooding to much of coastal Central Queensland and Awoonga dam spilled over a 30 day period in Apr 2017 with fish leaving the lake
    • Awoonga dam spilled again in Oct 2017 however the effects of this will not be known until the 2018 season
    • There was flooding in the Calliope River in Apr 2017 and minor flooding again in Oct 2017



  • Monitoring

    Monitoring of Barramundi

    Data for this assessment has been sourced from:

    • Bureau of Meteorology
    • Boyne Tannum Hookup
    • Gladstone Sportfishing Club
    • Queensland Fisheries
    • Gladstone Healthy Harbours Partnership
    • Gladstone Area Water Board


    Here are links to all the monitoring pages for Barramundi:

  • Area Fished

    Area Assessed

    Barramundi are caught in the estuary and creek areas throughout the Gladstone region. Commercially they are targetted in Grids S30,S31 (Gladstone) as well as T30,T31 (Rodds Bay) which are not included as that also covers Agnes Waters/1770.