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Is stocking barramundi (Lates calcarifer) in north-eastern Queensland a threat to aquatic biodiversity?

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Russell, D. J., Thuesen, P. A., Thomson, F. E. and Power, T. N. (2013) Is stocking barramundi (Lates calcarifer) in north-eastern Queensland a threat to aquatic biodiversity? Marine and Freshwater Research, 64 (10). pp. 992-1002. ISSN 1323-1650

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/mf12261


The stocking of predators can have significant consequences on recipient aquatic ecosystems. We investigated some potential ecological impacts of stocking a predatory fish (Lates calcarifer) into a coastal river and a large impoundment in north-eastern Australia. L. calcarifer was mostly found in slower-moving, larger reaches of the river or in the main body of the impoundment where there was abundant suitable habitat. In the tidally influenced freshwater reaches of the coastal river, L. calcarifer predominately consumed aytid and palaemonid shrimp that were associated with local macrophyte beds or littoral grasses. In this area the diets of juvenile stocked and wild L. calcarifer were similar and stocked fish displayed a high degree of site fidelity. Further upstream in the river, away from tidal influence, and in the impoundment, fish were the main prey item. Cannibalism was uncommon and we suggest that, at the current stocking densities, there was little dietary evidence of predatory impacts from L. calcarifer on species of conservation concern. We caution against introducing novel predatory species such as L. calcarifer in or near areas that are outside their natural range and are known to support rare, threatened or endangered species.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Animal Science
Additional Information: Russell, D. J. Thuesen, P. A. Thomson, F. E. Power, T. N. Fisheries Research and Development Corporation This study was partially funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation and work was performed under Animal Ethics approval CA 2009-08-377. Staff at the Northern Fisheries Centre, in particular Mark Leith, Malcolm Pearce and Joseph Sariman provided invaluable field assistance. We acknowledge the considerable assistance given by the Tinaroo Fish Stocking Group, particularly John and Jennifer Mondora, and also Professor Steve Donnellan of the South Australian Museum for identification of an anuran specimen. Statistical assistance was provided by Bob Mayer and Carol Wright of the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. We also acknowledge the two anonymous referees who provided critical review of earlier drafts of the manuscript. Csiro publishing Collingwood
Keywords:conservation fish stocking predation Queensland Wet Tropics sea bass stock enhancement tropical impoundment amazon rain-forest early life-history papua-new-guinea stomach contents brown trout new-zealand fish australia bloch salmonids
Subjects:Aquaculture and Fisheries > Fisheries > Fishery research
Aquaculture and Fisheries > Fisheries > Fishery conservation
Live Archive:24 Sep 2014 05:46
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:50

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