$7m pledged for fish hatchery
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.