Lake Callemondah a run-away success
  |  First Published: April 2007

Using stormwater run-off from the roofs and streets of a residential suburb to form a fish hatchery has become a reality in the heart of the industrial city of Gladstone.

Today, fingerlings that were introduced into the artificial lake during recent years are being captured in estuaries and waterways around the city.

Lake Callemondah is an artificial catchment on the edge of Auckland Creek; the lake and the saltwater creek are separated by a low concrete and rock wall.

Barramundi fingerlings were first introduced into the lake in 1999 and to date 19,869 have been released into the impoundment.

As the fish grow to maturity they are able to migrate to the saltwater of Auckland Creek during a freshwater flow or flooding when the waters of the lake top the wall.

Surprisingly as little as 30-50mm of rainfall is required in the catchment to create an overflow of the lake.

Through the efforts of members of the Gladstone Sportsfishing Club and other individual anglers, a total of 468 tagged barramundi have been recaptured in the period 2000 to 2006.

Central Queensland-based Infofish Services representative Bill Sawynok believes the capture and re-capture rates are significant for such a small fishery, but the fact the impoundment is replenished through stormwater run-off could pave the way for similar projects across the nation.

A report on Lake Callemondah and its success as a barramundi fishery has been released through Infofish in conjunction with the Gladstone Area Water Board, Central Queensland Port Authority, DPI and Gladstone Sportsfishing Club.

The growth rates of fish in Lake Callemondah average 152mm annually with most growth rates between 50mm and 250mm. Wild barramundi in the Fitzroy River have growth rates between 223-329mm a year.

Barramundi occur naturally in Auckland Creek and would have made their way along this catchment route but are now unable because of the wall.

Initially barramundi fingerlings were produced by the Gladstone Water Board hatchery but the sportsfishing club now holds that permit and restocks at about 2800 annually.

Although many fish have been recaptured adjacent to the impoundment, tagged fish have been caught as far away as the Boyne River, some 36km from Lake Callemondah.

Overall the project must be acclaimed as an example of industry, local government and fishing organisations combining to ensure the viability of Central Queensland's barramundi fishery.

A report on Lake Callemondah is available through Infofish Services by logging on to their website www.info-fish.net.

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