Cash hatched for proposed fish facility

By Country News

A $7million commitment towards establishing a new fish hatchery in the Greater Shepparton region has been welcomed by State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed.

The money, which was announced in the 2019-20 Victorian budget, is expected to fully fund the 80ha native fish hatchery which was proposed in October last year.

Then-Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford said a location was yet to be chosen, but the hatchery was expected to create 20 jobs in the region.

‘‘Projects such of this one will help to further diversify Greater Shepparton’s economy, creating new opportunities and insulating our economy from shocks to any one industry,’’ Ms Sheed said.

However, ensuring the new hatchery delivered benefits beyond improving the region’s fish stocks was also important, she said.

‘‘I have been pushing for every new project in my region to have a value-added component.

‘‘A new fishery will improve native fish stocks and subsequent tourism levels, but the hatchery itself can also provide tourism and education opportunities.

‘‘I will be asking the Andrews Government to build in a tourism and education component into this project.

‘‘Providing another tourist attraction and a site of learning for our region’s students is a potential added benefit for the hatchery.’’

Fishing received plenty of love in the budget, with an additional $35million allocated to Target One Million’s phase two, to get more people fishing.

The budget also included $39.6million in priority upgrades and maintenance to boat ramps and funding to establish the Better Boating Fund to collect funds from boat registration and marine licensing fees to use exclusively for boat facilities and safety initiatives.

Fishing and Boating Minister Jaala Pulford said the investment would boost regional tourism, create new jobs and promote better fishing across the state.

The Victorian Government has also set an ambitious freshwater fish stocking target, aiming to release 10million fish per year by 2022, including trout and native fish like Murray cod, golden perch and Australian bass.