THE STATE’S freshwater fish researchers are certainly not ruing the one that got away – rather, praising cod - after reeling in a $1.1 million lab upgrade for the state’s south.
Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair announced the funding haul at the Narrandera Fisheries Centre this week – where most of the unit’s 40 staff are based.
The new multi-functional laboratory will include wet and dry areas, microscopy rooms, genetics and environmental DNA facilities, an aquaria tank room and storage facilities.
Mr Blair said the upgrade would boost collaborations with universities and other institutes and cement Narrandera as the premier centre for native fish research within the Murray-Darling Basin.
“This is the only native freshwater fish research and hatchery in the Murray-Darling Basin and we’re committed to future-proofing our capacity to deliver national and internationally recognised freshwater fish research,” Mr Blair said.
The facility is a small, multi-disciplinary centre containing staff from Fisheries Research, Corporate Services, Aquaculture and Indigenous Fisheries and Charles Sturt University.
It also hosts vocational placement and university researchers from time to time.
Construction of the new state-of-the-art laboratory also complements recent upgrades at Narrandera, which included a $240,000 fish ageing facility and a new $220,000 boat shed.
“The research (done here) underpins our management initiatives and policy development to maintain and protect the state’s valuable aquatic resources,” Mr Blair said.
“I look forward to seeing the centre transform over the coming year and providing a great base for vital research.”
The Narrandera Fisheries Centre was opened in 1962 as a research centre to study the breeding biology and ecology of inland aquatic systems.
It has since become the centre of inland freshwater fisheries research in the state.
It has also developed into a productive hatchery, providing fingerlings of Murray cod, Trout cod, Golden perch and Silver perch to improve freshwater recreational fisheries and conservation initiatives.
The centre fulfils a number of other roles including breeding, conservation, environmental surveys, NSW rivers management, and aquaculture.
It also works with the community on reporting on illegal activities, educational initiatives, and aims to raise public awareness of the state of native fish populations.