An introduction to Uarah Fisheries

Founded in 1977 by industry pioneers, Jim and Bruce Malcolm, Uarah Fisheries is the world’s first modern Murray cod farm and large-scale native fish hatchery.

Then known as Uarah Warm Water Fish Hatchery (and in the 1990’s as Uarah Fish Hatchery), the venture was initially established as a hatchery for the breeding of Australian native fish species, including Murray cod (Maccullochella peelii peelii), golden perch (Macquaria ambigua) and silver perch (Bidyanus bidyanus), for restocking into the Murray-Darling Basin. Over the next decade, Uarah Fisheries grew to become the largest native freshwater fish hatchery in south-eastern Australia.

We have 55 outdoor ponds, proprietary indoor recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) specially-developed for native fish production, and extensive land reserved for future infrastructure expansion. While we are known as the major pioneers of Murray cod aquaculture, and produce both Murray cod fingerlings and table fish, we also specialise in golden perch and silver perch fingerlings as well.

Since 2015, we have made several upgrades to our production infrastructure and have significantly increased our broodstock numbers. In the 2016-17 season, we produced over 4 million Murray cod and golden perch fingerlings. However, we anticipate this figure to increase to over 8 million for the 2018-19 season and even more beyond that, as our newly-added broodstock mature. Even then, we possess the infrastructural and technical capacity to introduce more broodstock and increase fingerling production even further. We are also aiming to expand our table fish production infrastructure in the short-term future.

Today, Uarah Fisheries occupies over 80 acres of prime land adjoining the pristine waterways of the Murray-Darling Basin – the natural habitat of these fish species.

Production, markets and our global vision

Domestically, we are one of the largest producers of Australian native fish fingerlings, and are one of the long-term suppliers for restocking programs in New South Wales and Victoria.

We have collaborated with the NSW Department of Primary Industries (then Fisheries NSW) and the State Government of Victoria since the 1980’s. Likewise, we are long-term partners of various community-organised fishing groups from New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, to whom we have long supplied and donated fingerlings of popular angling species to restock regional waterways. We also supply fingerlings to other commercial table fish producers, both domestically and abroad.

In the table fish industry, we are the founding pioneers of intensive Murray cod aquaculture and are regarded by many as being the highest-quality Murray cod producer in Australia.

Indeed, our Operations Manager, Bruce Malcolm – who had researched and developed the foundational practices of modern Murray cod aquaculture in the 1980’s – is respected within the industry as its “Codfather”. Currently, we supply several premium restaurants and seafood wholesalers in Sydney and Melbourne. However, we aim to expand our existing table fish production in the short-term future, so as to bring high-quality and sustainably-farmed Murray cod into the everyday diet of Australian consumers.

Since the joint venture’s commencement, we have developed a number of sustainable and mutual partnerships with local bodies and businesses in the affluent Chinese province of Guangdong, and have attracted both national interest from Beijing and provincial interest from Guangxi, Zhejiang and Hebei. We anticipate the table fish from the first stage of this joint venture to reach the market in 2017, with further partnerships with other provinces to commence in 2018.

Sustainable research and development

At Uarah Fisheries, we are passionate about the sustainable development of Australia’s freshwater aquaculture industry and the restoration of native fish populations in the Murray-Darling Basin.

As such, we have been an active contributor to the scientific community since the 1980’s, having directly assisted and collaborated in scientific research conducted by government, NGO and university organisations including the NSW Department of Primary Industries, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the World Wide Fund for Nature, the Australian National University, Charles Sturt University and Deakin University, amongst other renowned organisations.

The scope of this research mainly fell into three distinct brackets. Firstly, the study of the physiology and ecology of the iconic freshwater fish endemic to the Murray-Darling-Basin. Secondly, the research and development of breeding and aquaculture techniques for Murray cod and other native fish. Lastly, the survey and joint development of the Australian aquaculture industry with government and private bodies.

We are immensely proud to have been a part of the leading research into native fish and freshwater aquaculture over the last 40 years and hope to continue to be closely involved in the development of the native fish aquaculture industry in the future.

By contributing our fish, our knowledge and our infrastructure to scientific research, we hope both to save Australia’s iconic fish species, and to help the Australian freshwater aquaculture industry become a major provider of premium quality, highly-nutritious and sustainably-sourced food for Australian and global consumers.

Our commitment to the future

We truly believe that Australia’s freshwater fish species, especially Murray cod, include some of the best-quality eating fish in the world – an opinion shared by top Australian chefs and restaurants, including Martin Brenn of Sepia, Peter Gilmore of Quay, Neil Perry of Rockpool, Ross Lusted of The Bridge Room, and many more.

We are proud of our values and what we’ve achieved so far, but we also recognise our continuing responsibility as one of Australia’s leaders in freshwater aquaculture.

As such, we will strive to continue bringing you the best-quality and most nutritious Murray cod in the industry, and to continue restoring Australia’s native fish populations all along the Murray-Darling Basin. We are deeply passionate about Australian freshwater fish, and will continue to involve ourselves in educating Australians as to their iconic status and great qualities.
Beyond this, we also intend to bring eating species like Murray cod, and their sustainable production, into the global mainstream. We believe this is a critical next step in market development, and also understand that it is critical it is done correctly – so as to not harm our quality of product and Australia’s fledgling freshwater aquaculture industry.

However, given our unique advantages, we believe that we are well-equipped to continue leading the industry in this globalised era, and take it upon ourselves to do so. We thank you for your interest in learning more about Uarah Fisheries. As always, we are grateful for all your support.

The Uarah Fisheries team
June 2017