Huge new hatchery offers Indigenous jobs boost

SNAG FOR THE REGION… Minister for Fishing and Boating, Jaala Pulford was in Shepparton last week to formally announce the new fishing hatchery and the Indigenous jobs boost it will bring. Photo: Ash Beks.

A giant native fish hatchery so big it can be seen from space will provide a boost for local Indigenous employment, as well as providing an enormous incentive for the fishing industry and environment.

The new fish hatchery is a flagship commitment of the Labor Government’s ‘Target One Million’ plan to get more people fishing, more frequently, and will grow millions of native fish annually to boost wild stocks for recreational fishers in Victorian rivers and lakes.

Up to six Indigenous positions will represent half the hatchery’s workforce, providing local opportunities for people keen on a career growing Murray cod (Burnanga), golden perch, silver perch and freshwater catfish.

To help Indigenous job candidates pursue the positions, the Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) will partner with Melbourne Polytechnic and Deakin University next year to provide education, training and development opportunities. The two-year course will provide graduates with a Diploma of Applied Science, majoring in aquaculture (fish farming).

Yorta Yorta elder, Uncle Cole Walker, welcomed the announcement during a media event last week.

“Yorta Yorta people have a long history of fishing Burnanga in this region and can impart some of that ancient knowledge. We have a large number of men and women who would love to be involved,” Uncle Walker said.

During the announcement, the Minister for Fishing and Boating, Jaala Pulford took time to recognise Aboriginal project officer for VFA, Mike Gilby, for his fantastic work in partnership with Indigenous anglers and elders.

“This will provide a great opportunity for skills and careers development and to make this a world-class hatchery staffed by people with the perfect set of skills and knowledge to create something truly special,” Ms Pulford said.

“Congratulations to everyone that’s been involved with this important and exciting project.”

Rob Loats, chair from VR Fisheries, added that this was also a truly wonderful occasion for recreational fishing.

“VR Fisheries have been strong supporters of this new native fish hatchery and it is really enhanced by the fact that we have Indigenous employment. The new hatchery is connected with community, the Indigenous people, the environment and the fishers; it’s a wonderful day for Victoria and we pass on our strong support and congratulations to the Labor Government for making this happen.”

Construction of the new hatchery is set to begin in 2020, once a suitable site has been selected, with completion expected in 2022.

Indigenous people are welcome to express their interest in training by emailing [email protected]