TWO WORDS: Mary River Cod Hatchery manager Darren Knowles and catchment committee chair Ian Mackay feed the adult cod at one of the ponds.
TWO WORDS: Mary River Cod Hatchery manager Darren Knowles and catchment committee chair Ian Mackay feed the adult cod at one of the ponds. Alan Lander

Endangered species hatchery forced to shift

GERRY Cook Hatchery, a breeding program for creating self-sustaining populations of the endangered Mary River cod, is being forced to move from its Lake Macdonald premises for up to three years.

As a result, the last time visitors can visit the hatchery will be at the Noosa Festival of Water, on Sunday, June 24.

The Mary River Catchment Coordinating Committee has released an eight-minute video, The Endangered Mary River Cod - Respected & Protected, to highlight the work the hatchery has been doing.

The re-location is due to major work on the dam wall and spillway of Lake Macdonald, due to start next year.

The hatchery land is likely to be used by dam operator Seqwater for storage, requiring the potential filling in of the breeding ponds, as massive works begin to build a coffer dam to hold back the lake's water - which is Noosa shire's water supply - while the wall and spillway are installed.

Committee chairman Ian Mackay said the hatchery, which has bred more than 30,000 cod fingerlings, would re-locate to a Cooroy address owned by an MRCCC associate for the duration.

"We will move early next year close by, with a more limited program, and come back when the dam work is done,” Mr Mackay said

He said the ponds would have to be filled in and re-dug on the hatchery's return, and that Seqwater had helped fund the hatchery's re-location.

"Seqwater said it doesn't want to, but may have to [use the land],” he said.

"It would be a bit easier staying here - but we're not closing.”

A concrete batching plant is to be built close to the dam, but supplies of fill and cement will require substantial truck movements to the site using both Lake Macdonald Drive and Gumboil Road access, according to Mr Mackay.

Noosa councillor Brian Stockwell said he had made his concerns known to Seqwater about traffic safety along Gumboil Road where its width would not allow a truck and car to pass each other.

The final stretch from Gumboil to the site is via Collwood Road which, while having only two residences along its length, is a narrow dirt road.

The hatchery will be open from 10am-2.30pm during the Noosa Festival of Water.

Visitors can drive directly to its location adjacent to Mary River Cod Park on Collwood Rd, or take a free boat trip across Lake Macdonald from the festival site at Noosa Botanic Gardens between 10am and 2.15pm.

The Noosa Festival of Water allows locals and visitors to the region to connect with experts in land, water and wildlife management and helps to generate interest and commitment to environmental initiatives.


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