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.

What stage is the VFA at with the new hatchery?

June 2019: After an extensive site selection process, we recently wrote to land holders seeking their interest in voluntarily selling their land, subject to the outcomes of further on-site soil and water testing.

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?

At present (June 2019) we are still assessing potential sites with a focus on land holdings close to the Goulburn River between Murchison and Kotupna.

How much land is required for the hatchery?

Based on our current hatchery design concepts, we require up to 100 hectares to establish a hatchery, of which around 30 hectares would be covered in earthen ponds.

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.

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, access to power, road access, existing water supply infrastructure, proximity to built-up areas (and amenity), environmental values/overlays and planning zone considerations.

What sort of “on-site” tests will be conducted?

Subject to land holder access agreement, the VFA will use independent contractors to take soil samples across each property to ensure soil is suitable for constructing earthen ponds. These tests are designed to be non-invasive with minimal disruption to land holders and their farming operations, however they are necessary to ensure the hatchery is ideally located to maximise fish production.

Will the State Government compulsory acquire the hatchery site?

No, the State Government will not use compulsory acquisition powers to acquire the hatchery site. The Victorian Fisheries Authority will respectfully engage on a voluntary basis with land holders who are prepared to sell.

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

The VFA are considering potential crown land sites, however most of these sites assessed to date are heavily forested, have high biodiversity values and provide important corridors for wildlife.

What fish will be grown at the new hatchery?

The new hatchery will focus on warm water native fish including; Murray cod, golden perch, 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 have more time and resources to expand the breeding of cooler water native fish such as trout cod and Macquarie perch. We will also explore the breeding potential for river blackfish.

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. Many more people will be employed during construction.

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

The new hatchery will start producing native fish in the first after it’s been built (i.e. from 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