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Tracking Barramundi in the Roper River · Tracking Barramundi in the Roper River Factsheet 1 -...

Date post: 26-Aug-2018
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Tracking Barramundi in the Roper River Factsheet 1 - August 2016 This project aims to reveal the secrets of barramundi migraon in our large coastal rivers. Barramundi undertake extensive journeys between discrete parts of coastal river systems throughout their life cycle. Spawning occurs in saline estuary mouths early in the wet season; spring des wash eggs and larvae into adjacent coastal swamps; most juveniles undertake an upstream migraon to occupy habitats in freshwater river channels; several years later, mature fish undertake a return migraon to spawning habitat. However, the connecons between these migraon movements and paerns of river flow are yet to be understood. Changes in river flow may affect the producvity of both estuarine and freshwater habitats, and the ming and duraon of opportunies for migraon. Increased understanding of the connecons between river flow and fundamental processes such as migraon will provide a strong foundaon to manage our rivers. This project is a collaborave partnership between the NT Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Research Instute for the Environment and Livelihoods at Charles Darwin University, NT Fisheries and the NLC managed Yugul Mangi Rangers. Contacts: Dr Peter Dosne Dept of Environment and Natural Resources [email protected] Dr David Crook Charles Darwin University [email protected] Dr Thor Saunders Dept of Primary Industry and Resources [email protected] Source: NT Fisheries
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  • Tracking Barramundi in the Roper RiverFactsheet 1 - August 2016This project aims to reveal the secrets of barramundi migration in our large coastal rivers. Barramundi undertake extensive journeys between discrete parts of coastal river systems throughout their life cycle.

    Spawning occurs in saline estuary mouths early in the wet season; spring tides wash eggs and larvae into adjacent coastal swamps; most juveniles undertake an upstream migration to occupy habitats in freshwater river channels; several years later, mature fish undertake a return migration to spawning habitat.

    However, the connections between these migration movements and patterns of river flow are yet to be understood. Changes in river flow may affect the productivity of both estuarine and freshwater habitats, and the timing and duration of opportunities for migration.

    Increased understanding of the connections between river flow and fundamental processes such as migration will provide a strong foundation to manage our rivers.

    This project is a collaborative partnership between the NT Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods at Charles Darwin University, NT Fisheries and the NLC managed Yugul Mangi Rangers.

    Contacts:

    Dr Peter DostineDept of Environment and Natural [email protected]

    Dr David CrookCharles Darwin [email protected]

    Dr Thor SaundersDept of Primary Industry and [email protected]

    Source: NT Fisheries

  • The project has tagged 80 barramundi and 20 fork-tailed catfish and is tracking their movement patterns along over 300 kilometres of the river using acoustic telemetry. This fact sheet presents key results from the first year of the study. We found that:

    1. The majority of tagged fish did not move substantial distances during the wet season, with many fish undertaking only minor movements either upstream or downstream before returning to the reach in which they were tagged the previous dry season. Fork-tailed catfish were almost entirely sedentary.

    2. Four, mostly large, fish undertook a downstream migration to the mouth of the Roper estuary during the wet season. These movements are described in Figure 1. In each case the migration coincides with a major flow event. However, there was much individual variability in the timing and pattern of movements.

    nt.gov.au

    3. One fish, tag # 59843, made repeated visits to Roper Bar, including a return journey to the tagging reach, before finally migrating downstream. A second fish, tag # 59891, migrated to the mouth in the late wet season, and almost immediately made a substantial return journey upstream.

    4. Four smaller fish made significant upstream movements which appeared to be triggered by the peak of the first wet season flood. Juvenile fish appeared to leap-frog upstream using high flow events.

    5. Large-scale movement had largely ceased by late April, although more data from this dry season will reveal the extent of dry season movements.

    6. The flow conditions under which juvenile barramundi transition from the estuary into freshwater needs further detailed study. Recessionary flows in the late wet season may provide a narrow window of opportunity for recruitment to freshwater habitats.

    The Department of Environment and Natural Resources

    Figure 1. Movement histories of four tagged barramundi in the Roper River. Graphs show distance moved from tagging site (solid line), and river height at Red Rock gauge station from September 2015 to May 2016 (dashed line).

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