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Chris Gulaptis helps release an Eastern Freshwater Cod into one of the new ponds under the watchful eye of Fish Tech, Mitch Turner.

The Grafton Fisheries Centre is spawning success

After splashing out $250,000 to make their hatchery operational again, the facility will play an integral role in ensuring the survival of the state’s endangered freshwater fish species.

Dr Gavin Butler shows Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis some of the threatened freshwater fish species housed in the Grafton Fisheries newly operational hatchery.

The money was received as part of the NSW Government’s $10 million Native Fish Drought Response Program with a majority of the funds spent reinvigorating the grow-out ponds and improving their water management.


Dr Gavin Butler, a research scientist at Grafton Fisheries, is passionate about how the centre will help reintroduce the numbers of threatened species locally and in the Murray Darling basin 

“A lot of the native species are in trouble and if we don’t move to reestablish their numbers, we’ll simply lose them,” he said.

“We’re trying to save our species.”

The Grafton Fisheries hatchery is equipped with temperature controlled holding and spawning tanks, larval rearing facilities and nineteen ponds with screened inlets and outlets to accommodate broodfish and grow-out. It is currently home to more than 800 fish from five threatened species, including the eastern freshwater cod, which is only found in the Clarence Valley.

Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis, toured the centre on August 11 to view the completed refurbishments.

“To see the species that are currently being hatched in the hatchery is really encouraging,” he said.

“The funding is a terrific initiative by the NSW Government to help save our native species as a consequence of bushfires and the drought.

“These species are iconic to Australia and we need to save them.”

Chris Gulaptis is pictured with Grafton Fisheries Centre Techs & Scientists L-R Mitch Turner, Sophie Johns, Gavin Butler (Snr Research Scientist), John St Vincent & Leo Cameron (Snr Research Scientist).

Dr Butler said the funding also enables the centre to rescue a lot of endangered fish from across the state. In November, Grafton Fisheries rescued a male eastern freshwater cod from the Nymboida River. During his visit, Mr Gulaptis assisted with the cod’s release into one of the newly reinvigorated grow-out ponds before the fish becomes part of an on site breeding program to help his species over the next three years.

“We knew that post-drought and when the bushfires happened, there was a real risk of a lot of native fish species becoming extinct,” Dr Butler said.
“With our hatchery operational again, we have the facilities to help us increase the numbers of currently threatened species and ensure their survival.”

Dr Butler is very thankful to the state government and local resources for their ongoing support of Grafton Fisheries.