Hatchery manager leaves barra legacy

By REN LANZONrlanzon@gladstoneobserver.com.au

KEN Cowden may be hatching his last few batches of fish for the Gladstone fish hatchery near Auckland Creek.

After more than six years at the hatchery, Ken has left a legacy of hundreds of thousands of barramundi in lakes all over Queensland.

Some have also been sent to other Australian states and even internationally.

But now he says it is time to move on. His resignation at the end of January coincides with the end of his contract as manager of the hatchery.

The hatchery is a joint project of the Gladstone Area Water Board and Central Queensland Ports Authority, which owns the hatchery site.

'I am pleased with what I have achieved at the hatchery, and wherever I go, I will keep my finger on what is happening here because I feel I have a personal interest in this work,' he said.

'I will take a break for a little while and then I have a few opportunities to chase, maybe even overseas.'

Ken said it appeared the hatchery might achieve a new milestone by increasing its mangrove jack breeding program.

'Normally we expect a 10 percent success rate from the mangrove larvae we hatch, but we look like we might do better this time from the half a million larvae in the tank,' he said.

He said it was planned to release 100,000 more barra before Christmas.

Another 200,000 will be sold for release in lakes elsewhere in the southern half of Queensland.

There were also plans to release 60,000 mullet, each about 60mm long, in the Boyne Valley in the next few days.

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