Moves made to find new fish hatchery site

By Country News

The Victorian Fisheries Authority has written to several property owners along the Goulburn River to explore their interest in voluntary soil and water testing as part of a site selection process for a new native fish hatchery near Shepparton.

Victorian Fisheries Authority chief executive officer Travis Dowling said the state government committed to building a new hatchery at the last election as part of its $34million Target One Million plan to get more people fishing, more often.

‘‘We grow lots of Murray cod at our Snobs Creek hatchery near Eildon but a hatchery near Shepparton would be warmer and better suited to growing a wider variety of species including golden perch, freshwater catfish and more Murray cod,’’ Mr Dowling said.

‘‘Letters have been sent to eight property owners between Murchison and Kotupna explaining our plans, the need for on-site testing to further inform desktop studies, and to determine their level of interest in selling land if tests prove successful.

‘‘Should there be a willingness by property owners, Victorian Fisheries Authority staff and expert soil and water consultants would meet on-site in coming weeks to undertake more detailed investigations to better understand site potential.’’

Mr Dowling said there was absolutely no obligation for property owners to accept the soil and water testing request, and they could rest assured that compulsory acquisition of land was not being considered.

The new hatchery is expected to require an area of up to 100ha and will employ 12 full-time staff.

It will also feature a visitor centre to attract tourists and boost the regional economy.