The NSW Nationals in Government will spend $4 million on a major expansion of Narrandera Fisheries Centre.

The upgrade will see the construction of new buildings and the installation of high-tech equipment to significantly expand the Centre’s capacity to house native fish species.

NSW Nationals Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said it will cement the Centre’s reputation as the State’s leading facility for freshwater fisheries.

“The wonderful staff here at Narrandera Fisheries Centre are already doing so much in terms of research and native fish breeding,” Ms Cooke said. “The current facility however is the victim of its own success and has now reached capacity for the housing of small native fish, and is approaching capacity for large native fish.”

“This significant investment will take the operations here to a whole new level and will allow staff to house even more rescued fish and undertake one of the State’s largest ever breeding programs.”

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke

Investing in our native fisheries

The investment comes as the NSW Government warns that the State could be facing a horror summer of fish kills due to prolonged drought, and the prediction of low rainfall and high temperatures over the coming months.

“We know this facility played such a major part in our response to fish kills across the State last summer, storing rescued fish such as the iconic Murray Cod,” Ms Cooke said. “With conditions expected to be even worse this summer, it’s critical we boost capacity at Narrandera Fisheries to ensure it can cope with increased demand for housing fish and eventually breeding species for restocking our river systems and waterways. The Centre is such a wonderful part of our local community and I’m delighted its excellence is being recognised by the NSW Government through this vital investment.”

Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall said unless there was significant rainfall in the next month, the State would almost certainly be in for more fish kills this summer.

“We’re in the midst of the worst drought on record, with record low rainfall, record low inflows into our river systems and high temperatures predicted over the coming months… we’re facing a perfect storm,” Mr Marshall said. “The expansion of Narrandera Fisheries Centre is going to be indispensable to the State’s ability to combat fish kills this summer.”

“This unprecedented response is proportionate to the disaster we’re facing. We’ll create a virtual ‘Noah’s Ark’ for native fish species through the largest breeding and restocking effort to save native fish species.”

Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall

Narrandera Fisheries Centre Manager Martin Asmus said the expansion will help fish locally and across NSW, with the state-of-the-art hatchery able to restock affected areas across NSW when conditions improve, and retrofitting the old hatchery to enable intensive production of threatened small-body fish.