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Project boosts aquaculture research facilities


Brigid Veale
24 November 2011
A $2 million project is under way at Southern Cross University’s National Marine Science Centre in Coffs Harbour to expand the aquaculture tank farm, install a brood stock facility and enhance the laboratories and teaching areas.

The federally funded project will enable increased utilisation of the NMSC’s high-quality sea water system, which draws water from the nearby ocean for reticulation throughout the building.

Professor Les Christidis, NMSC director, said this system was one of the Centre’s greatest assets, providing opportunities for research and training not available at other institutions.

In addition to supplying the aquaculture tank farm and aquarium with flow-through sea water, the system also feeds directly into the laboratories and temperature controlled rooms. Researchers are able to turn on a tap and access sea water direct from Charlesworth Bay.

Professor Christidis said a substantial part of the funding would be used to double the size of the tank farm, provide additional sea water storage tanks and expand the pumping system.

“These developments will provide us with new opportunities for our aquaculture research and training programs,” he said.

“We currently have a small scale commercial hatchery that we use for research into the aquaculture potential of different fish species. However, we are not able to hold brood stock for larger fish such as mulloway and mangrove jack and so our research is limited to species where eggs are commercially available. The new brood stock facility will allow us to choose which species to study.”

Also included in the building works are upgrades to existing laboratories and teaching areas, construction of four more temperature controlled rooms and construction of three new offices.

The works will be completed by March 2012.

In addition to these projects, a new solar system is also being installed to provide power for the Solitary Islands Aquarium, an educational aquarium within the NMSC which showcases the ecological diversity of the Solitary Islands. This work is being funded through the Vice Chancellor’s annual Sustainability Projects Fund.

A total of 17 solar panels are being installed, which will generate electricity to power three tanks in the aquarium.

“Environmental best practice has been a key consideration at the National Marine Science Centre, in line with the environmental principles taught in our marine science and management units,” Professor Christidis said.

Photo: A $2 million project is under way to expand the aquaculture tank farm at the National Marine Science Centre.