$7m pledged for fish hatch­ery

The Tatura Guardian - - News - By Thomas Moir

They say there’s al­ways plen­ty­more fish in the sea.

But it looks like there soon could be plenty more fish in the Goul­burn Val­ley.

Vic­to­ria’s agri­cul­ture min­is­ter has pledged $7 mil­lion to­wards a new na­tive fish hatch­ery be­ing es­tab­lished in Shep­par­ton, should La­bor be re­turned to gov­ern­ment at next month’s elec­tion.

The hatch­ery would serve to boost Vic­to­rian fish stocks with the re­gion’s warmer cli­mate hoped to al­low the new hatch­ery to fo­cus ef­forts on breed­ing ‘‘pop­u­lar warm wa­ter na­tive species such as Mur­ray cod and golden perch’’.

It would guar­an­tee fish-stock­ing lev­els with na­tive fish bred in Vic­to­ria, a state­ment from Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Jaala Pul­ford said.

Ms Pul­ford said a new hatch­ery would cre­ate lo­cal jobs and mean ‘‘we can breed the fish we need right here in Vic­to­ria’’.

‘‘Our fish­ing in­dus­try is boom­ing, but Vic­to­ria is buy­ing around four mil­lion fish a year from in­ter­state sup­pli­ers to sup­ple­ment the close to 1.7 mil­lion fish bred at Vic­to­ria’s ex­ist­ing Snobs Creek hatch­ery each year,’’ the state­ment con­tin­ued.

Ms Pul­ford said the Vic­to­rian Fish­eries Au­thor­ity was ex­am­in­ing ground­wa­ter avail­abil­ity, land op­tions and in­fra­struc­ture needs for the pro­posed new hatch­ery in the Shep­par­ton re­gion.

‘‘They have been work­ing closely with Goul­burn-Mur­ray Wa­ter and DEDJTR to pro­vide best op­tions for Vic­to­ria’s first ever ded­i­cated na­tive fish hatch­ery.’’

In Au­gust, Mem­ber for Shep­par­ton Suzanna Sheed had urged the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment to con­sider a site in Tatura for a new hatch­ery.

At the time, she wrote to Ms Pul­ford proposing the Tatura Re­search Cen­tre as an ideal site in line with an op­por­tu­nity high­lighted in a fish­ery man­age­ment plan.

She high­lighted the re­search cen­tre as hav­ing land avail­able for pond de­vel­op­ment, lab­o­ra­to­ries and of­fice space, much of it ‘‘un­der-utilised’’.

In cor­re­spon­dence with Ms Pul­ford in Au­gust, Ms Sheed noted a draft plan had re­ported an Eil­don fish hatch­ery was run­ning at ca­pac­ity and that part­ner­ships were be­ing sought to boost threat­ened species for the state’s fresh­wa­ter wa­ter­ways.

Ms Sheed greeted this week’s pledge as ‘‘an­other very wel­come an­nounce­ment’’ set to cre­ate em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in the vicin­ity of the Goul­burn River.

She be­lieved it would pro­vide ‘‘great op­por­tu­ni­ties to pro­mote more recre­ational fish­ing across Vic­to­ria’’.

‘‘And I’m very pleased it’s hap­pen­ing here on our ter­ri­tory,’’ Ms Sheed said.

She last week high­lighted the mooted Tatura fa­cil­ity as hav­ing ‘‘so many fa­cil­i­ties and ca­pac­ity’’ for such a project, but con­ceded, there ‘‘might be a whole lot of lo­gis­ti­cal rea­sons why it has to be closer to the river’’.

‘‘I’m just very pleased it would land here in our re­gion,’’ she said.

Pat Len­non

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