Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Study to Help Barra Face Climate Change

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Study to Help Barra Face Climate Change

Article excerpt

JAMES Cook University researchers are working on identifying strains or features of C[pounds sterling]superC[yen] barramundi that might be better able to withstand the effects of climate change.

The research will also highlight new ways the various stakeholders in the barramundi industry can manage and protect the fishery of the iconic Australian fish.

Associate Professor Dean Jerry, Aquaculture Genetics Research Program Leader in James Cook University's School of Marine and Tropical Biology, along with other researchers, was awarded recently $400,000 from the Federal Government's Fisheries Research and Development Corporation and Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency for their innovative research proposal.

The study will look at the ways barramundi currently adapt to different climatic conditions and how commercial fisheries and aquaculture might need to adapt with future climate changes.

Assoc Prof Jerry said predictive climate models suggested that between 2030 and 2070 environmental conditions could impact on barramundi breeding and survival and that fisheries and aquaculture might need to adapt to these changes.

C[pounds sterling]The strategic challenge, therefore, is to gather relevant data that can be fed into holistic models so that not only threats for this fishery can be identified, but more importantly, that opportunities for the barramundi industry under perceived future climate scenarios can be clearly delineated,C[yen] he said.

There had been little research into the link between climate variability and inshore, estuarine or freshwater fisheries in tropical Australia, he said.

C[pounds sterling]One study that has been completed, however, has shown that warm sea temperatures, high rainfall leading to increased freshwater flows, and low evaporation, correlated strongly with increases in commercial barramundi catches from Princess Charlotte Bay two years after the event. …

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