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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Labs and facilities

Most research is undertaken by teams based at the Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories at Hillarys Boat Harbour in Perth’s northern suburbs. 

This state-of-the art research facility incorporates viewing areas into research laboratories. 

One of the key activities undertaken at these laboratories is the annual stock assessments of Western Australia’s most important fisheries, involving surveys, sampling, and analysis of trends in catch and fishing activity.

Our aquatic animal health laboratories are located at the Department of Agriculture in South Perth. 

Pemberton Freshwater Research Centre

Trout hatchery ponds at the Pemberton Freshwater Research Centre
Hatchery ponds at the Pemberton Freshwater Research Centre

The Pemberton Freshwater Research Centre (PFRC) is the largest freshwater hatchery and research facility in Western Australia. Located on the Lefroy Brook in Pemberton, the current hatchery site contains 10 earthen ponds, 22 concrete ponds and 36 research tanks fish hatching and larval rearing troughs. 

Since 1971, we have managed the PFRC, originally established to produce trout to support the south west region's freshwater recreational fishery. Faster-growing sterile triploid trout are produced at the centre and a unique genetic line of temperature-tolerant rainbow trout that has attracted the attention of international research institutions.

Trout production and stocking continue to be the research centre's primary function, but a number of other research initiatives are taking place there, including a captive breeding program for the critically endangered 'hairy' Margaret River marron. This aims to establish a living gene bank and a breeding population of the species before it becomes extinct in the wild. 

We also carry out research into native and endangered fish at the centre, with brood stock populations of two endemic species being established and more underway. A moveable slot fish ladder has been installed for research into native species.

While the centre's activities are becoming more widely recognised, there is currently only limited access to the public. However, there is potential for opening up the facility for educational purposes in the future.

Aquaculture and Native Fish Breeding Laboratory

​The laboratory, located at The University of Western Australia’s (UWA) Shenton Park Field Centre has over 50 large tanks enabling scientists and students to conduct research on a scale that replicates commercial and natural environments. 

It also has over 100 aquariums, three artificial lakes, a hatchery and quarantine facilities. Projects are carried out by a team of postgraduate students, UWA staff and our scientists, research partnerships with industry and the community are also undertaken. Recent projects include the aquaculture of a range of freshwater fish and crayfish species, breeding critically-endangered species of fish and crayfish and producing native fish for restocking water bodies. 

​Abrolhos Islands​/Geraldton

At the Abrolhos Islands we have the Saville-Kent Centre, a field station located on Rat Island, the hub of the 122 group of islands. The Abrolhos Islands Research Institute is located at Separation Point in Geraldton.​​

Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre​

The Watermans Bay Marine Centre is currently being refurbished as part of a collaboration between the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the CSIRO, The University of Western Australia’s Ocean Institute and the Department of Fisheries. It is expected to open in 2015 as part of the Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre. The Centre will bring together over 240 researchers carrying out projects across a broad range of marine-related subjects including oceanography, fisheries and marine ecology, technologies, engineering and law.​​

Last modified: 9/10/2014 12:33 PM

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