World Aquaculture 2023

May 29 - June 1, 2023

Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia


Alexander Basford*, Cameron Hartley

Darwin Aquaculture Centre, Fisheries Division

 Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade,

Northern Territory, Australia


Recreational fishing is an important aspect of life in the Northern Territory (NT), injecting over $50 million into the economy per annum and contributing to a significant part of the NT’s cultural identity. To enhance recreational fishing in the greater Darwin region, the Northern Territory Government’s Darwin Aquaculture Centre (DAC) has been stocking barramundi (Lates calcarifer ) – an iconic  NT angling  species  – since 2004 into waterways where natural recruitment of barramundi is limited or restricted .  This benefits local communities by providing angling opportunities close to urban zones and in safe recreational areas.  This includes urban and rural lakes and lagoons, as well as Manton Dam, the most significant freshwater recreation area in the greater Darwin region .  Since this programs inception, the DAC has stocked over 1 million barramundi , with  stocking densities calculated based the fish’s size and the area of the waterway being stocked. Historically, most barramundi stocked have been between 30-100  mm in length. Since 2019, the DAC has begun stocking ‘advanced’ size barramundi over 400 mm in length which offer immediate fishing opportunity and high recapture rates in some locations. More recently, the DAC has begun tagging larger barramundi so  survival and growth of stocked fish can be quantified through angler recaptures. Future research potential includes expanding tagging efforts in stocked fish across different sizes as locations, as well as investigating survival, growth and diet habits of stocked barramundi to inform best grow out  environments for the program.