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Australian bassHatchery Quality Assurance Program (HQAP)

Aquablue Seafoods has a brand new state of the art fish hatchery, designed to the highest standards of hygiene and safety. This hatchery was purpose built to meet the new hatchery quality assurance regulations being implemented into NSW. The hatchery was one of the first infrastructure projects completed at Aquablue.

The hatchery quality assurance program is progressing slowly but surely in NSW. This is a program where hatcheries in NSW that want to supply fingerlings for the dollar for dollar program will need to be accredited by NSW DPI Fisheries and other hatcheries can get accreditation to help promote their produce. It’s a 3 year lead in timetable but bottom line is if you do not get accreditation you will not be able to supply fish for the dollar for dollar program for restocking into the wild. Additionally some hatcheries are getting accreditation for their own reasons, mostly as a sales pitch assist.

Most Hatcheries in NSW have applied for accreditation but still some have not bothered. NSW DPI will be looking at the whole farm, not just the hatchery, and below are just a few of the things that are being looked at to ensure that hatcheries comply with the HQAP:

  • Good records
  • Records of pond/tank sizes, capacities etc.
  • Records of chemical usage
  • Records disease outbreaks and treatments
  • Records of Broodstock, strains, genetics etc.
  • Effluent capacity and disposal
  • Hatchery equipment, monitors, microscopes, dissection set etc.
  • Water supply, quantity, quality, reliability etc.
  • Filtration equipment, inlets outlets etc.
  • Office and workshop
  • Health Management Plan
  • Quarantine Facilities

The new accreditation scheme will apply to all hatcheries regardless of size. The same regulations will apply wether you have a $2000 hatchery or a $2 million hatchery.

The Hatchery here at Aquablue Seafoods at Pindimar NSW (Port Stephens) has a hatchery for Silvers, Goldens, Bass, Bream Witting, and Snapper, etc. This hatchery was inspected as part of Phil Read's tour around the state looking at Fish Hatcheries in late March early April 2006.

Phil checked out the hatchery and the farm as a whole. He had a checklist of specific items he was interested in and ran through them all and checked them off or advised what will need to be done to meet the criteria for accreditation. It was all quite painless and easygoing. Phil inspected everything and ticked off everything on the list. It looks very good for us with no unforseen obstacles or hurdles in front of us for the future.

Only approved hatcheries are allowed to apply as fish supplied by the hatchery will be restocked back into the wild and it is imperative that these fish are healthy, disease free and of the correct genetic stock to ensure there is zero impact on other native fish populations. We will keep you informed of our progress on the hatchery accreditation program, to date Aquablue is hassle free.

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