Suntag Milestone Report 1 2020-21

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Targets for 2019-20

1. Tag 20,000 fish

2. Record 1,500 recaptures

3. Registered taggers in range of 400-500

4. Upgrade database

5. Information distribution through 20-25 dashboards

Impact of COVID-19

It is important to understand the impact of Covid-19 on the economy and society however

there are very few objective ways to measure its impact on recreational fishing. Soon after the

start of the pandemic Infofish Australia used the recapture of tagged fish as a random sample of

the fishing population to see if it was possible to detect changes in fishing effort and fisher


The number of recaptures is correlated to fishing effort and the number of deployed tags while

behaviour is related to the distance travelled to go fishing. The actual distance travelled was

unknown so the distance from the fisher’s address or postcode to the recapture location was used.

In order to see if there were differences in the impact in different regions a number of areas were

selected for monitoring. These were:

• Statewide

• SEQ estuaries (Sunshine Coast to Gold Coast)

• SEQ Bass impoundments (adjacent to SEQ)

• Fitzroy River (regional estuary)

• Barramundi impoundment (Lake Awoonga)

Dashboards covering these areas were compiled and distributed monthly. Initial feedback was

positive, and this work was then absorbed into a broader Covid-19 project funded by the Fisheries

Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) and Recfishing Research. At the end of 2020 a

review was undertaken comparing 2020 with 2019. This was widely distributed to key

organisation, fishing groups and individuals that would benefit from having the information. Again,

the feedback was positive both in terms of the information provided and the format for presenting

the data.

A summary of the comparison between 2020 and 2019 is provided and the complete

dashboards were provided to Fisheries Queensland. This will continue to be monitored in

2021 as there are likely to be further impacts from Covid-19.

Assisting Stocking Groups

The responsibility for monitoring of stocked impoundments has shifted from Fisheries

Queensland to stocking groups. Infofish Australia is working with Suntag and FFSAQ to provide

basic information from tagging and other sources to assist stocking groups in better

understanding their impoundments and their stocking regimes.

Crystal Bowl dashboards are being developed for as many impoundments as possible that

have a history of tagging data. Initially this was for 6 Bass impoundments providing a 10 year

timeline of tagging and recaptures, catch rates, size distribution, growth, survival, movement,

tag locations and recapture postcodes (indicating where fishers are coming from). This has

now been extended to include Golden Perch and other impoundments where sufficient data

are available.

As with the Covid-19, a 2020 review covering impoundments with sufficient data over the past

10 years is underway and will be completed shortly. One dashboard has a summary

comparing 6 Bass and Golden Perch lakes in SEQ. These are:

• Advancetown (Hinze)

• Maroon

• Moogerah

• Wivenhoe

• Somerset

• Borumba


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