Barra return home after the rains


Researchers from the Department of Primary Industry and Resources (DPIR) and Charles Darwin University found that barramundi return to their home waterways after the wet season, sometimes travelling more than 80 km.

Thor Saunders (Principal Research Scientist), Quentin Allsop (Senior Technical Officer), and Wayne Baldwin (Technical Officer) from the DIPR’s Fisheries Division assisted the team in implanting radio transmitters to track fish movements and behaviour.

25 barramundi and 29 fork-tail catfish were studied over an eight-month flood cycle in Kakadu’s South Alligator River, 300 km south-east of Darwin.

The research aimed to learn more about the seasonal movement of large-bodied fish in tropical rivers to assist in future protection and rehabilitation.

At the onset of the wet season, it is widely known that fish leave their home waterways to explore new environments and feeding grounds.

The study found that even if there was suitable habitats closer to their wet season waterways, the fish that survived, returned home.

The project was led by Charles Darwin University Associate Professor, Dr David Crook, and was funded by the Australian Government’s National Environment Research Program (Northern Australia Hub) with support from Parks Australia.

For more information, visit the Journal of Animal Ecology where the study was recently published.


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