Rare fish value off the scale

Geraldton Guardian
Daniel Hoare and Soazig Laumaille are part of a team of five that spawned and cultured a rare Australian fish.
Camera IconDaniel Hoare and Soazig Laumaille are part of a team of five that spawned and cultured a rare Australian fish. Credit: Tamra Carr, The Geraldton Guardian

Geraldton fish breeders have successfully raised 21 rare Australian flathead perch that could each sell in the marine aquarium trade for about $US5000.

The fish — spawned and cultured at Central Regional TAFE’s Batavia Coast Maritime Institute — are the largest group of flathead perch ever brought to market.

Sourced from the waters around Dampier, three fish were raised for 10 months by hatchery technicians Daniel Hoare, Soazig Laumaille, Kate Murphy, Cameron Perret and Travis Cameron before “surprisingly” giving birth.

Mr Hoare said the flathead perch had settled into life in the TAFE tanks and had started eating the institute’s custom-made food.

“The complexities associated with rearing this species is something we have been wanting to trial for a long time, and to see the project succeed is a fantastic achievement for students and staff,” Mr Hoare said.

“We now have a blueprint to tackle other hard-to-culture species, exposing students to cutting-edge aquaculture techniques.”

TAFE’s head of marine, environment and technology Suresh Job described the success as a “significant achievement”.

“The fact that we have again achieved an Australian first, and commercially a world first, right here in Geraldton is just fantastic,” Dr Job said.

If all of the fish are sold by TAFE, they could fetch up to $149,845.

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