style=”line-height: normal;”>From the Brisbane Courier Mail http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,22124564-3102,00.html
style=”line-height: normal;”>Martin Philip
style=”line-height: normal;”>July 24, 2007 12:00am
style=”line-height: normal;”>IT’S enough to make any barramundi fanatic reach for a hanky.
style=”margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;”>Thousands of dead tropical fish – some more than a metre long – floating to the surface of Lake Moondarra, Mount Isa‘s main water supply.
style=”line-height: normal;”>Authorities are blaming Queensland‘s big chill on the mass fish deaths, which have local anglers fearing the worst.
style=”line-height: normal;”>George Fortune, president of the Mount Isa Fish Stocking Group, said about 2000 fish had died in July.
style=”line-height: normal;”>"It’s been unusually cold for unusually long, and they just can’t tolerate the low temperatures for any length of time," Mr Fortune said. "The barramundi come into the shallow parts of the dam to try to get warm, but they get caught up in the shallows, dying of the cold weather."
style=”line-height: normal;”>The cold snap affecting the whole state has seen the mercury drop to as low as 3.2C in Mount Isa this month. And the fish deaths have forced authorities to grapple with another unwanted problem: disposing of the carcasses.
style=”border: medium none ; padding: 0in; line-height: normal;”>Big pits have been dug to bury the barramundi, along with large numbers of sleepy cod and catfish. Mr Fortune said barramundi stocks in Lake Moondarra were down by as much as 40 per cent.
style=”line-height: normal;”>And this from a month earlier-
Barras flee global warming’
June 28, 2007 12:00am
THE wild barramundi may be forced to flee further south due to warmer waters, according to new research by Queensland government climate scientists.
Natural Resources Minister Craig Wallace said researchers from the Queensland Climate Change Centre of Excellence had found projected rises in sea water temperatures due to global warming may decrease the numbers of fish in the state.
Wild barramundi are traditionally found in rivers and along coastlines in tropical and subtropical areas.
"While the six-year study is still in its early stages, changes in fish habitat brought on by climate change may reduce wild barramundi numbers," Mr Wallace said.
"This could particularly occur where reduced rainfall and freshwater flows combine with higher evaporation to reduce the area of shallow wetlands where the fish breed."
The study is comparing climate change predictions for 2030 and 2070 with historical data to determine changes in the state’s barramundi industry, which currently catches 800 to 900 tonnes of the fish each year.
Mr Wallace said it was hoped the study would develop plans to ensure the continued health of the species, including conservation and management programs.
style=”line-height: normal;”>Note: Mount Isa is at 20.7°S, elevation about 360m.