Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke visited Narrandera Fisheries Centre today to learn more about plans to future-proof this key fish breeding facility.

The centre, which is 35 years old, is running at full capacity and is examining ways to double its fish production.

“Narrandera Fisheries Centre plays a key role in breeding and conservation, as well as research into native and introduced species, and has been at the forefront of this field since it first opened in 1962,” Ms Cooke said.

“Some of their work revolves around fish which are locally extinct and on the verge of extinction in the Murray-Darling Basin, so it’s easy to see how critical their work here is.

“When the Centre contacted me to ask for assistance in their expansion plans, I was only too happy to find out more so I can effectively advocate on their behalf.”

Martin Asmus, manager at the Narrandera Fisheries Centre, said he has mapped out the future.

“We’ve got a bid in for a hatchery upgrade in with the NSW Government which we are waiting to hear about, and that’s for the building and for infrastructure work, but for a full expansion we’d be looking at further pond work which may need some land acquisition,” Mr Asmus said.

“We’d probably have to look at additional staffing, and then we would have to looking at buying some high-security water as well, as the additional ponds will of course need water.

“But while we are doing that, we would also look at water efficiencies such as water recycling.”

Making sure there are sufficient fish as well as sufficient knowledge about fish habitats and breeding is important for a healthy water system.

“Fish play such a key role in indicating the health of our river systems so it’s vital that we learn as much as we can about their numbers and locations,” Ms Cooke said.

“The researchers here do some wonderful work which gives a clear indication of fish health in NSW, as well as collating information about introduced species and their effects on feeding and native fish health, and I will do my best to ensure this vital facility is able to do its important work as effectively as possible.”