Atlantic salmon released into Brushy Lagoon
On Thursday the 11 June, 400 Atlantic salmon averaging 4 kg were successfully released into Brushy Lagoon. The salmon were kindly donated by Petuna Fisheries.
Often there is conjecture amongst anglers in regard to where Atlantic salmon are being released. The feedback received by IFS revolves around a perception that certain waters receive consistently more salmon than other waters.
Usually this is not the case and whilst the IFS endeavours to ensure an equitable distribution of fish throughout the state there are a number of variables the IFS must consider and may ultimately determine the water to be stocked.
The IFS predict more salmon stockings will take place throughout the remainder of the year into waters identified in the Annual Stocking Plan including Lake Barrington, Lake Meadowbank, Brushy Lagoon and Craigbourne Dam. Lake Kara has been added to this stocking list since 2013 and Pioneer Dam has also been added to the list to improve regional distribution.
Atlantic salmon stockings are reliant on the availability of suitable stock donated from commercial hatcheries and are largely seasonal and unpredictable. When salmon are made available from the various commercial hatcheries around the state the IFS collect, transport and release them into one or more of the fisheries previously mentioned. The actual waters to be stocked are based on a number of considerations described below.
Atlantic salmon stockings are usually geographically determined due to the proximity of the hatchery donating the fish and the receiving water. This is influenced by the significant cost of transport, the increased potential for fish mortalities when longer transport times are required and environmental factors such as water temperature and water levels. If the two southern hatcheries, Saltas (Wayatinah) and Tassal (Russell Falls) have salmon available, they will generally be stocked into Craigbourne Dam or Lake Meadowbank located in the south of the state. When fish are donated by the two northern hatcheries, Petuna Fisheries at Cressy, and Springfield Fishery (Huon Aquaculture) located near Scottsdale; they will usually be stocked into the northern salmon fisheries.
Biosecurity is another major determining factor. Any salmon that are donated from Petuna fisheries must only be released into Brushy Lagoon or Craigbourne Dam, due to the pest fish, redfin perch being present in both the source water and the receiving water. Brushy Lagoon and Craigbourne Dam already contain populations of redfin perch. Lakes Barrington and Kara are redfin free; this is a critical factor that IFS must consider before releasing Atlantic salmon into the fishery. Environmentally, the status of redfin free waters must remain, to protect our fishery.
A recent and additional complication has been the introduction of a 10 Tonne load limit on the bridge at Brushy Lagoon Road. The transporter the IFS generally uses for Atlantic salmon transfers has a gross weight when loaded of 22T so this has been ruled out of delivering fish to Brushy. The IFS has used its own small transporter to make multiple smaller loads however this is expensive and logistically difficult. Therefore an alternative method of transport using a 4000 litre tank has recently been sourced by the IFS and was used for this latest stocking. This transporter will be used until the bridge is upgraded.
The IFS is very conscious of ensuring that as many anglers as possible throughout the State have access to these popular fish kindly donated by the aquaculture industry, however there are a number of serious considerations that must be taken into account before these fish are released into the wild.