Please note the Bluewater Barramundi Farm ceased operations following severe storm damage resulting from Cyclone Yasi in 2011.
The mangrove-fringed, muddy coastal zone of Hinchinbrook Island, Queensland, Australia, is within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA). It is a Habitat Protection Zone of the Queensland Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park, and is within the Wet Tropics World Heritage area. The forest surrounding Hinchinbrook Channel is deltaic and dominated by tall Rhizophora mangrove trees edging the deep, scoured river channel. The creek systems are turbid, high energy environments with current speeds of up to 30 cm.sˉ¹ and tidal ranges of 1–3.5m. This environment is suited for the grow-out of barramundi ( Lates calcarifer ) because it is the native habitat for this species.
Photo 1: Hinchinbrook Channel. Bluewater Barramundi Farm is situated in Conn Creek, a side branch of the Hinchinbrook Channel. Image: Google Earth.
Bluewater Barramundi Farm is a sea-cage aquaculture operation in Conn Creek, on the western side of Hinchinbrook Channel. The farm began operating in the early 1980's prior to the establishment of the World Heritage Area, and is currently one of only two cage culture systems operating in tropical Australia.
Photo 2: Bluewater Barramundi fish farm. Image: S. Clarke.
The farm is comprised of 32 synthetic mesh cages permanently moored in the main channel of Conn Creek. It is licensed to grow a maximum tonnage of 450t of barramundi but usually holds <250t. The annual production from the farm (~250t) is approximately equivalent to the total annual tonnage of wild barramundi harvested commercially within the State of Queensland, yet is produced from an approval area of less than 8.5 Ha.
Photo 3: Sea cages at Bluewater Barramundi. Image: A.D. McKinnon.