A Reel Winner
IT WAS the vision of water that won Peter Hall over.
For three decades Peter and his family had battled drought: the banks repossessed his parched West Australian sheep and grain farm in the 1980s, he’d mined opals in the 40C-plus temperature of Lightning Ridge in NSW for 20 years, and then struggled through further drought farming near Dubbo in the 2000s.
So when Peter saw the vision of water — 33 ponds and a flowing river — at the Harrietville Fresh Trout and Salmon Farm, in Victoria’s North East, it was just too tempting.
As fate would have it, Peter’s son, David, was studying aquaculture in Tasmania at the time and when dad told son about the prospect of buying the farm, the duo jumped.
Since 2009, Peter and his wife, Sally, and David and his wife, Lucinda, have run the salmon and trout farm on 8ha on the Stony Creek, currently producing 35 tonnes of fish a year, but with a licence to produce 50 tonnes. The farm was started in 1971.
They farm four species: about 75 per cent is rainbow trout, with the remainder brown and brook trout, as well as Atlantic salmon.
While most of their trade is tourists fishing for live fish, they also supply fingerlings to the South Australian Government and sometimes the Victorian Government for restocking of rivers, as well as farmers for stocking of dams.
November 12, 2014 12:00am
From Hatch to Dispatch
THE Harrietville Fresh Trout and Salmon Farm is vertically-integrated, from hatch to dispatch.
Starting in April, the Halls begin to strip salmon for their eggs, followed by mid-May for the brown and brook trout and rainbows in May to July.
They keep 20,000 salmon eggs for their own breeding purposes, but strip 300kg, which is used in their caviar.
They strip 80,000 brown trout eggs, 3000 brook and 250,000 rainbow, with each of these either kept for their own farm or sent off farm for restocking of rivers and dams.
Once stripped, the eggs are mixed with the males’ milt in a bucket then kept in an upweller, or pipe, for two months until eggs hatch.
Hatchlings are then transported to trays for a month until they start feeding, then transported to long troughs for about three months, followed by tanks to grow them from 3g to 80g. When they are about 80-100g the fish go to ponds for final growth.
It takes about 12-15 months to get them to 300g and ready for eating, although smoked fish is generally 450g, filleted is 800g, their pate fish is 1kg and breeders grow out to 5kg.
Through the growing period they are fed Skretting fish food and are monitored for pests and disease.