Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) has partnered with the Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) to support the development of a native fish hatchery and visitor tourism facility near Shepparton.
The $10 million project at Arcadia, funded by the Victorian Government, will help to recover threatened native fish populations and create exciting recreational fishing opportunities and tourism-related expenditure for the region.
VFA Native Fish Hatchery Project director Anthony Forster said it had worked closely with GMW to construct a bore and secure a groundwater licence at the 170-hectare property.
“This led to the purchase of 200ML/year permanent allocation from existing groundwater licence holders,” he said.
The VFA also holds GMW diversions licences to service the property and livestock and has partnered with GMW to harvest Murray cod and golden perch broodstock from irrigation channels.
“These broodstock are key resources for the hatchery’s future success,” Mr Forster said. “When fully operational, the hatchery will breed and stock 1.6 million Murray cod and golden perch into hundreds of waterways each year.
“Over time, we plan to also grow freshwater catfish and silver perch.” GMW Groundwater and Streams manager Matthew Pethybridge said the organisation assisted the VFA in finding an appropriate location for the selected site.
This included the provision of groundwater, surface water and water quality information.
“The VFA site has access to the GMW channel network and a sustainable groundwater resource,” Mr Pethybridge said.
“GMW worked with the VFA on groundwater technical information which included discussion on the Mid Goulburn Groundwater Management Plan and appropriate aquifer system to target.”
The hatchery, scheduled to be completed in November 2021, will employ 20 people on and offsite. Earthworks, including 32 ponds, an underground harvest station and water use system, have been completed.
Hatchery and office buildings have been designed and this work will soon be tendered out for construction. Mr Forster said the visitor tourism facility was expected to attract 10,000 visitors and would engage and educate people about native fish, river health and indigenous culture.
For more information on the project, go to www.vfa.vic.gov.au