Australian Sustainable Food, Environment, & Social Systems 2015

Blog site for the 2015 MSU study abroad program.

5/22 – Kayla

The day began with some nice weather of about 66 degrees on May 11th 2015 in Wagga Wagga, Australia. We stopped in a small town called Hay and Picked up some take away at the’ Wok in Hay’. After our wonderful lunch we went to the John Lake- Narrandera Fishery Research Centre and arrived around 2:30 P.M after a six-hour bus ride.


This is a picture of the group about to watch a short film on the fisheries centre.

When we arrived to our destination we were very eager to learn about the fisheries centre sustainable practices. Sustainability is how an environment can naturally and successfully work together without it being affected negatively by humans, only positively, so future generations can also live in a sustainable environment. What the fisheries centre does is very sustainable in the fact that they are actually breeding the native fish which lowers the chances that the species will go extinct. They are increasing the population naturally and for the better. Their process is specially designed for native fish. The balancing of the protection of the fish and their habitat is done well along with providing enough fish for people to catch.


This is some of the group interacting together with the turtles that were right in the middle of the fisheries centre.

The Narrandera Fishery Reasearch Centre focus is on the study of breeding, biology, and ecology of inland aquatic systems. The native species in the Murray-Darling basin are their main focus of study. Some of the important native species are the golden perch, silver perch and the Murray cod. The golden and silver perch are the most abundant in the Darling Murray River.

Fisheries often experience damage or loss of crucial reproductive habitat that is necessary for native fish to grow in a sustainable environment. Since these are problems, fisheries must do studies to figure out the cause of these problems while figuring out the threats to the environments so they can put an end to it. We want fisheries to be repaired and better yet improved so they can get as close to their original state as possible. If young fish can survive, they can reproduce in adult life. When people work together to help native fish increase their population, sustainability is more possible.

This is the group being told about the hatching process.

The cod drum is a method that is very natural. The female Murray cod will lay her sticky eggs in a huge drum which will easily attachment to the drum. The hatchers must check to see if they are there. It takes them 7-9 days to hatch and they average about 25-30,000 eggs. These eggs will not spawn if they are not in the drum structure. If there was no drum to hatch the eggs, chances of native fish going extinct are significantly higher. After hatching they are placed into buckets and survive off yolk sack for about a week, then they are provided their first feed by the employees.

They use their own clean and clear well water to hatch which is cleaner than river water. A lot of health checks are done to ensure diseases won’t get spread. The quality and quantity of the water is watched to make sure the fish can sustain life. This is another way they’re ensuring a healthy population.

Once the fish are ready to go they are put into the dams. More spillways are put in place which allows the water to adjust to proper temperature so they can reproduce on their own. They also have fish ways in the dam which enables fish to get from one side to the other opposed to them hitting the barrier which wouldn’t allow them to get to the river. If they can’t get into the river they can’t meet new fish to reproduce with. It would do no good if all of the fish they are breeding just stayed in the same dam. In order for this whole process to work to the best of its ability the fish need to be in the river. Another reason these monitored native fish are put out is so people can have a successful fishing trip.


Here is the group being showed one of the ponds that some of the fish occupy.

They breed fish, do environmental surveys, report on illegal activities and do community education. All of the capacity of students they can hold was currently full when we went there. A full capacity is a good sign because that means they are sharing the importance of native species to as many people as they can. They start students out early in learning about sustainability. The earlier the kids catch on, the better it will be for the environment. Children are our future and we want them to understand that taking care of native species is important so future people can enjoy them like we are now. They teach kids about the importance of the rivers. The importance is that rivers are the homes of native fish so it’s crucial that fish have a suitable habitat to maintain healthy populations. They also do school projects with the kids which allows them to grasp concepts hands on. At the fisheries centre you’ll find work rooms, an auditorium, ponds, hatchery rooms and a John Lake Centre where you can take tours.


Here is the sign right outside the fisheries centre.

Group picture

Here is our group together, some of us making fish faces as we were leaving the Narrandera Fishery Research Centre.

This is an Ariel view of the Narrandera Fishery Research Centre.

This is John Lake and he was an Australian pioneer in research and bred native inland fish.

Through other experiences on this trip I found out that native species are especially important to the aboriginal people of the land for food. The way this research centre carefully and accurately breeds the fish makes it possible for the native people along with anyone else to catch or eat fish. It gives people hope and satisfies them knowing the city cares as much as they do about not letting native fish go extinct. If there were no native fish to be caught or eaten, sustainability wouldn’t be happening. It would have an opposite effect which is what the Fishery Centre is trying to prevent.

Here is the link I used to find the Ariel photo, John Lake, and the walk in fish room.

Clicking on the above link will take you to a website that will expand your knowledge on sustainability.

Here is a link where you will gain further knowledge about the native fish of Australia.

Here is a link where you will find more information on the Aboriginal culture of Australia.

This link will take you to more information about restoring native fish populations.

This is a link where you will find facts about Australians native animals.

Here is a link further discussing hatcheries and where some are located.


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