Northern fisheries centre

Site Details

Research facility nameNorthern Fisheries Centre
Research facility address38-40 Tingira Street, Cairns QLD 4870
Telephone+61 7 4241 1200
Coordinates (GPS at office)16°56'44.3''S, 145°46'21.8''E
ClimateMaximum temperature 31.5°C
Minimum temperature 17.1C°C
Annual rainfall 2000mm

Site overview

The 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 saltwater 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 the Northern Fisheries Centre precinct, with an onsite boat ramp access and wharf.

Primary activities at the centre include:

  • Fisheries monitoring
  • Aquaculture licencing and permits
  • Extension
  • Fish stocking advice
  • Marine habitat management
  • Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol
  • Crocodile trap preparation


General facilities

The site has built facilities that include an administration office with accommodation for 60 staff, conference and meeting rooms. There is also general storage and machinery sheds, and a 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 laboratory for aquatic invertebrate and vertebrates
  • Conference room


  • Saltwater intake pumping and filtration

Specialised plant and equipment

  • Extensive high quality seawater supply, filtration and aeration systems
  • Specialist seawater recirculation system
  • Fisheries vessels (3)
  • Pontoon/berth for Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol


  • Fisheries vessels (4)

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 otoliths.