Establishing a new native fish hatchery FAQs

Who is delivering on this hatchery initiative?

The Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) is delivering the hatchery project.

What are the key stages of the hatchery project?

The hatchery project involves a range of key steps including; groundwater investigation, site selection, hatchery design and costings, business-case, site acquisition, hatchery construction and commissioning.

When will the hatchery be built by?

The State Government has committed to have the new hatchery completed by November 2022 - or, hopefully, sooner!

What stage is the VFA at with the new hatchery?

May 2020: After an extensive site selection process, the VFA purchased a 170 hectare properly near Arcadia on the Goulburn River. The property features a large dam, two residential buildings, high quality groundwater and plenty of clay for pond construction. The property is currently being upgraded (fencing, security system and building improvements). Construction is planned to commence in late 2020 with completion by mid to late 2021.

What’s the budget for building the hatchery?

The State Government has committed $7 million toward the establishment of a native fish hatchery. This money is part of the $35 million invested in Victorian fishing and boating in the 2019 budget.

Where will the hatchery be located?

The hatchery will be located on a 170 hectare property on the Goulburn River near Arcadia, a 20-minute drive south of Shepparton.

How much land is required for the hatchery?

We have purchased a large property (170 hectares) of which around 130 hectares has been set aside for the purposes of fish farming. The scale of the property provides plenty of scope for expanding native fish production in the future, subject to additional funding.

What site selection process was used to identify potential sites?

The VFA used a range of independent expertise to identify and map areas (and land holdings) that best met more than 20 key site selection criteria. A short list of sites identified through this process were then inspected and, in consultation with land holders, soil and water testing was conducted.

What are key requirements for the preferred hatchery site?

Some of the key site selection criteria include: ground water quality (and yield), back-up surface (river) water quality, abundance of clay (pond construction), access to power, road access, existing water supply infrastructure, proximity to built-up areas (and amenity), environmental values/overlays and planning zone considerations.

Did the State Government compulsory acquire the hatchery site?

No, the State Government purchased the property through negotiation with the land holder after independent valuations.

Why don’t you build the hatchery on Crown Land?

The VFA considered potential crown land sites, however most of these sites were heavily forested, had high cultural heritage and biodiversity values, e.g. important corridors for wildlife.

What fish will be grown at the new hatchery?

The new hatchery will focus on warm water native fish including with an initial focus on breeding Murray cod and golden perch. Over time, the VFA may expand production to include silver perch and freshwater catfish.

Will the new hatchery enable Snobs Creek to breed new species?

Yes, the new hatchery will mean our Snobs Creek hatchery will free up capacity (ponds) to enable increased breeding and production of cooler water threatened native fish such as trout cod and Macquarie perch.

How many people will the hatchery employ?

At this stage we expect the new hatchery will employ many people during the construction phase, and up to 12 staff once operational including seasonal and casual labour.

Will the hatchery contribute to the State Government’s 10 million fish stocking target?

We expect the new hatchery will start to produce native fish the year after it has been completed with production coming on line from late 2022. After that, it will take several years for the hatchery to reach full production capacity, however we will be including stocked fish which have been grown at the new hatchery in our 10 million fish targets.

How can I find out more?

If you any further questions, please send us an email at: Improving.fishing@vfa.vic.gov.au