Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Nation's oldest marine research centre makes a century.

Download PDFDownload PDF

DAFF05/015MJ - 14 February 2005

Australian Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation - Senator Ian Macdonald Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage - Senator the Hon Ian Campbell

Nation's oldest marine research centre makes a century

The nation's oldest marine research centre, based at Cronulla, will celebrate its centenary today.

The historic occasion will be hosted by the NSW Fisheries Minister, Ian Macdonald and supported by his namesake, Australian Fisheries Minister, Senator Ian Macdonald.

"This research centre helped to lay the foundations for modern fisheries science and management in Australia," Mr Macdonald said.

"It has inspired some of our brightest scientific minds over the past 100 years, allowing them to pursue experiments and theories that were ahead of their time.

"Over the years, scientists based at Cronulla have pioneered research in areas such as aquaculture, by-catch reduction and fish stock assessment.

"Notable staff to work at the site over the years include Dr Harald Dannevig, a Norwegian scientist who came to Australia and established the Cronulla research centre in 1905; bringing with him the first successful importation of live fish from England to Australia.

"His first assistant, David Stead, began some of the earliest scientific research into the biology and history of the State's fish stocks.

"Decades later, the centre's reputation grew even further, under the leadership of visionaries such as Professor Bob Kearney, who was recently awarded an OAM for his service to fisheries research; Bob Martin, who went on to become a State Fisheries Minister, and Dr Shirley Jeffrey and Dr Kay Radway Allen, who were heads of the CSIRO at different times."

Senator Macdonald said the Cronulla Fisheries Centre has played an integral role in Australia's fisheries research and development, and has been the source of some of the most important discoveries in our nation's marine and fisheries science, including tackling the problem of overfishing.

"In February 1904, the Gunnamatta Bay Fish Hatchery was established on this site, which was a defence reserve at the time," Senator Macdonald said.

"The aim of the hatchery was to restock Australia's depleted coastal waters and study the 'habits and life histories' of our native fish and oysters.

"Over the past 100 years, the centre has played an important role in research and development to ensure the long-term sustainability of our fisheries."

Senator Macdonald said the Commonwealth's association with fisheries research at Cronulla began when it became the home of the Fisheries Investigation Section of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, which later became the CSIRO's Fisheries and Oceanography Division.

"Research contributions into southern bluefin tuna, the south east and Great Australian Bight trawl fisheries, the northern prawn fishery, whaling and the oceanography of Australian waters proved invaluable in developing our most important fisheries and increasing our understanding of our marine environment," Senator Macdonald said.

Mr Macdonald said he would announce today that the State Government will invest $1 million in the site over the next two years, to replace run-down buildings and equipment with state-of-the-art technology.

"This is part of our Towards 2020 plan to reinvest in key research centres across the State," Mr Macdonald said.

Further media inquiries: Senator Macdonald: David Crisafulli 0400 144 483 Mr Macdonald: Ann-Maree Wilcock 0428 531 511

© Commonwealth of Australia 2002-2004 | Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry | Other AFFA Ministers | Prime Minister's website