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Northern Fisheries Centre

Site Details

Research Facility Name Northern Fisheries Centre
Research Facility Manager David Van Cuylenburg
Address 38-40 Tingira Street, Cairns QLD 4870
Telephone 07 4241 1200
Coordinates /GPS at office Latitude: -16.946015
Longitude: 145.772724
Climate (Temperature max & min, Annual Rainfall) Maximum Temperature 31.5C, Minimum Temperature 17.1C. 2000mm Annual Rainfall.
Topography (Brief description) Flat

Overview of the Site

The Northern Fisheries Centre (NFC) was established in Cairns in 1976. It was relocated to a new site on Smith's Creek, Cairns, in 1979. In 2002, the centre was refurbished.

Northern Fisheries Centre is located on Smith's Creek at Portsmith Cairns, with direct access to Trinity Inlet. The facility provides support to a unique aquaculture facility through salt-water supply and filtration. Reticulated marine water has high standards of ozone and rapid sand filtration, oxygenation and hydraulic operations to suit a range of tropical marine organisms.

Direct access to the ocean through Cairns Harbour is available from the Trinity Inlet jetty located within NFC precinct, with an onsite boat ramp access and wharf.

Primary activities include:

  • Fisheries monitoring
  • Aquaculture Licencing and permits
  • Extension
  • Fish stocking advice
  • Marine habitat management
  • Queensland Boating and Fisheries Police patrols
  • Crocodile trap preparation


General Facilities

The site has built facilities include an administration office with accommodation for 60 staff, conference and meeting rooms. General storage and machinery sheds and purpose built mechanical workshop and chemical store.

The site is serviced with a wide range of plant and equipment including tractors and vessels required to support research, monitoring and patrols.

Specialised Infrastructure

Controlled Environments

  • Cold room
  • Freezer room

Laboratories, processing facilities and conference room

  • Laboratories
  • Wet Lab for aquatic invertebrate and vertebrates
  • Conference room


  • Saltwater intake Pumping and filtration

Specialised Plant & Equipment

  • Extensive high quality seawater supply, filtration and aeration systems
  • Specialist seawater recirculation system
  • Fisheries Vessels x3
  • Pontoon/berth for QBFP


  • X4 Fisheries Vessels

Research Focus

The Northern Fisheries Centre conducts fisheries monitoring programs for both freshwater and saltwater fishes. It provides an ongoing database for the monitoring of wild fisheries found in tropical estuarine, inshore and offshore reef waters.

Age determination on vertebrates is conducted onsite by sectioning of otoliths.

Last updated 12 September 2017