Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke officially opened the new freshwater research laboratory at Narrandera Fisheries Centre today.

The facility heralds a new era for innovative fisheries research thanks to the NSW Government’s million-dollar investment.

Ms Cooke said the state-of-the-art laboratory will increase the capacity of the Narrandera Fisheries Centre to undertake large-scale research programs and remain at the forefront of cutting edge technology.

“The Narrandera Fisheries Centre is renowned across Australia and the world for the leading role it plays in freshwater fish research,” Ms Cooke said.

“In the new laboratory facility, some of our state’s best fisheries scientists will progress with a range of innovative projects including the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) to detect rare and threatened species, research into population genetics and ageing studies to inform native fish management.

“The new laboratory will also support the Centre’s ongoing research into freshwater species, habitats, ecosystems and sustainable fishing practices.

“The new multifunctional laboratory includes wet and dry laboratory areas, microscopy rooms, genetics and environmental DNA facilities, a temperature-controlled aquaria tank room and sample processing facilities.”

Ms Cooke said research from the Narrandera Fisheries Centre plays a pivotal role in informing the Government’s approach to management of the state’s valuable aquatic resources.

“We’ve invested significantly in the Narrandera Fisheries Centre because it is the only native freshwater fish research and hatchery facility in the Murray-Darling Basin and we want to ensure it continues to pave the way for freshwater fish research, as it has done for generations,” Ms Cooke said.

“The new facility will enhance NSW DPI’s links with industry and allow the NSW Government to deliver positive public outcomes through enhanced biodiversity, invasive species control and management of natural resources.

“The Centre’s existing relationships with universities will also be strengthened, as the labs will be able to host an increased number of visiting scientists, graduate students and interns to support the Centre’s 25 staff.”

Additional funding was also announced to boost the Centre’s traineeship program.

The project, which will be funded from the $15 million Recreational Fishing Trust grants program, will see university students trained in the practical skills to improve the number and quality of fish produced at the Narrandera hatchery.

“The Centre’s native fish hatchery breeds around half a million Murray Cod and Golden Perch, and these fingerlings form the basis of our State’s successful freshwater stocking program for native fish,” Ms Cooke said.

“Thanks to this funding, the traineeships will be opened up to students who otherwise may not have been able to afford the accommodation and transport expenses associated with the traineeship.”

The Narrandera Fisheries Centre was opened in 1962 as a research centre to study the breeding biology and ecology of native freshwater fish, and has evolved to fulfil a number of roles including river management, conservation stocking, biodiversity surveys, aquaculture and community education.

For more information, visit https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/about-us/research-development/centres/narrandera-fisheries-centre.