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Prior to retiring, Dr Stuart Rowland was a Senior Research Scientist with the NSW Department of Primary Industries. He was the Scientist-in-Charge of the NSW Fisheries Grafton Aquaculture Centre. The breeding and growing methods we use today, for jade perch and silver perch, have been developed from the lifetime dedication to researching Australia's freshwater native species by Dr. Rowland.
Dr Stuart Rowland, (Now retired.) has been involved with research into the taxonomy, biology, conservation and aquaculture of Australian native freshwater fishes for 30 years. While based at the Inland Fisheries Research Station, Narrandera between 1978 and 1985, he developed techniques for the hormone-induced spawning and larval rearing of Murray cod (Maccullochella peelii peelii), golden perch (Macquaria ambigua) and silver perch (Bidyanus bidyanus). These techniques form the basis of a hatchery industry (both commercial and Government) that produces up to over million fingerlings annually for stock enhancement, conservation and commercial aquaculture.
Stuart studied aspects of the biology (history, fishery, age and growth, reproduction, diseases) of Australia’s largest and most famous inland fish, the Murray cod. This research lead to a better understanding of the biology of cod and the formulation of new fisheries management regulations. The significant recovery of Murray cod in NSW over the last 10 years has been due, in part to the protection of stocks through these regulations. During this research, a new species, the eastern freshwater cod (Maccullochella ikei) and a new sub-species, the Mary River cod (M. peelii mariensis) were identified and named; both cod species are classified as “Endangered”. Stuart selected a site and designed the Grafton Aquaculture Centre, and ran one of Australia’s first fish conservation projects for eastern freshwater cod during the 1980’s. He is currently supervising a research project on the ecology and conservation of eastern freshwater cod.
Since 1990, Stuart’s aquaculture research projects have developed husbandry and production techniques, water quality and health management programs, diets and a feeding strategy for the culture of silver perch. His research includes diseases and health management, genetic improvement and cage culture. Silver perch is an excellent species for commercial culture with the potential to form a large industry based on high-volume, low-cost production. Stuart has provided an extension service for the silver perch and other freshwater aquaculture industries, and his expertise is sought by scientists in Australia and overseas. He also provides advice on aquaculture, water quality, diseases of native freshwater fishes, conservation, and biological and management issues to fisheries managers in NSW, and scientists and managers in other states.
This picture of Stuart was taken back in 1982
Stuart was an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Graduate Research College, Southern Cross University, he supervised many PhD students. He was a member of the National Murray Cod Taskforce, the Clarence River Monitoring Committee, and the NSW Fisheries Scientific Committee. He has organised and run numerous national and international conferences and conference sessions. Stuart has been a pioneer in a number of areas of research into Australian native freshwater fishes: use of electrophoresis for taxonomy; hatchery technology; conservation of threatened species; culture of silver perch. He is the author of at least 167 scientific and technical papers, and has presented more than 130 official seminars and talks on aquaculture and fish biology through-out Australia and in Asia.