Tag Archives: Australia

Fishers struggle as lobster ‘nearly as cheap as chocolate’

A dramatic collapse in export markets has flooded Australia with large quantities of cheap lobsters selling for as little as $35 a kilogram. At that price, fishers struggle to break even and processors are not getting enough orders to chew through the oversupply of fish, with one describing the price as “nearly as cheap as chocolate”. “I’m hearing fishermen struggling to maintain deckhands because they’re not earning enough money, fishermen talking about having to get a second job,” Mr Blake said. “It’s been very challenging.” Fishers used to sell lobsters into China for around $100 per kilogram but the industry has been locked out of that market since the outbreak of covid. >click to read< 08:04

Licence fee reduction among government’s lobster support

The state government is set to provide relief to the state’s commercial rock lobster industry including a 50 per cent reduction in licence fees and an independent review into cost recovery. The industry has continued to feel the effects of ongoing trade sanctions imposed by China, which had been its biggest market, on top of a decline in domestic markets due to COVID-19. This includes a 50 per cent reduction in commercial rock lobster licence fees for the next year, which the government says will save the industry nearly $2.6 million in 2022-23 according to current Rock Lobster Cost Recovery Statements for 2021-22. >click to read< 09:45

Crab cam video reveals a ‘hectic’ underwater world

An octopus attacking a blue swimmer crab over bait, a squid changing colours as it tries to steal the lot; these are some of the scenes being captured off Adelaide’s beaches to create an unlikely social media hit. Kayak fisher Andy Burnell has been attaching a camera to bait that he places on the ocean floor,,, “What amazed me was the grid pattern the squid displays as it first comes in. The “hectic” nature of blue swimmer crabs too has been startling, in particular their aggressive nature as they attack the camera and jostle for bait, having been swept into a frenzy. “Once they smell the bait in the water, they just come flying in,” >click to read< 08:06

Huge relief for owners as grounded fishing trawler is rescued

In scenes reminiscent of the mighty Cherry Venture, the fishing trawler F/V Proteus, out of Mooloolaba, ran aground this week just past middle rock at the Coloured Sands. While the owner of the trawler declined to comment, a local businessman said, “The scallop season has just opened and it’s a mad rush to get first dibs on the scallops and they have been putting some good hours, and it slipped anchor and they were woken up when it hit the sand”. photos, >click to read< 21:12

Tacoma’s 70 years: A personal perspective

Last month MFV Almonta sank on its mooring for a second time. This once proud member of the Port Lincoln tuna fleet now sits forlorn, half submerged in Porter Bay. It seems likely another part of the 60s tuna fleet is to be lost. I am guessing funds are short and too few people care enough to keep her afloat. This gives me pause for thought. A short distance away in the Marina sits the MFV Tacoma – afloat, fully preserved, debt free, self-funded and heritage listed. >click to read< 07:36

Eels – They may be Australia’s most hardcore animal

They may be no match for saltwater crocs or great white sharks, but for their size, our freshwater eels are surprisingly hardcore. These slippery fish can travel over land, take down serious prey, and climb walls, all without any freaking legs! Their shape-shifting rivals that of insects such as butterflies, moths and cicadas. And eels undertake one of the most epic migrations known within Australian waters, but to this day, their breeding grounds remain a mystery. Lurking in the muddy bottom of a river or dam is only part of an eel’s life. It’s like the Clark Kent bit. The rest is the stuff of fishy superheroes. photos, >click to read< with attached eel articles! 19:04

Commercial fishermen call for a fishing boat wharf accessible to the community

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef erupts in color as corals spawn

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is spawning in an explosion of color as the World Heritage-listed natural wonder recovers from life-threatening coral bleaching episodes. Scientists on Tuesday night recorded the corals fertilizing billions of offspring by casting sperm and eggs into the Pacific Ocean off the Queensland state coastal city of Cairns. The spawning event lasts for two or three days. The network of 2,500 reefs covering 348,000 square kilometers (134,000 square miles) suffered significantly from coral bleaching caused by unusually warm ocean temperatures in 2016, 2017 and last year. The bleaching damaged two-thirds of the coral. >click to read< 11:13

‘Not work, it’s a passion’: Commercial fisherman Santo La Macchia still hooked at 101

Australia’s oldest commercial fisherman, and his son, “Young Bobbie”, planned to have left their mooring in Avalon’s Careel Bay about 1pm on Monday, pointing their 70-year-old trawler Joyce towards the prime squid fishing waters off Patonga on the Central Coast.,, “We like to do the afternoon shift,” explains “Young Bobbie” (to distinguish him from Santo’s late father who started the fishing dynasty in 1924). “Young Bobbie” joined his father on Joyce in 1972, and now trawler, licence and trading company are in his name. So which of them is skipper? “He is,” says Santo, pointing at his son. “But sometimes, when he does something wrong, I’m the skipper.” >click to read< 07:50

Boats burnt, seafood seized in crackdown on illegal foreign fishing in Australian waters

Authorities have swung into action in Australia’s northern waters, destroying illegal Indonesian boats and seizing hundreds of kilograms of fishing gear and seafood. The Australian Border Force has released photographs showing the small colourful boats burning at sea in the wake of the three-day operation near the Rowley Shoals Marine Park off the northern Western Australian coast. The actions come after local tour operators raised the alarm about dozens of foreign boats in the area, saying they feared piracy during recent trips. >click to read< 13:19

Great ‘Green’ Job Hoax: Only China Profits From Making Wind Turbines & Solar Panels

The promise of thousands of jobs building wind turbines and solar panels is a renewable energy mantra; there are – but only in China. China itself is building nuclear power plants and hundreds more coal-fired power plants, as if its economic livelihood depends on it. Meanwhile, in those Western countries foolish enough to attempt to run on sunshine and breezes, those few jobs that did materialise are fast disappearing. However, as laid out below, don’t expect any meaningful or lasting employment. Unless, of course, you’re a Uighur slave building solar panels in a factory somewhere hidden in China.  >click to read< 12:26

Watching Wind And Solar Fail To Power The World Economy

You don’t have to be any kind of a genius to figure out that wind and solar generation are never going to supplant fossil fuels in powering the world economy. Thankfully the U.S., home of fracking, has mostly been spared the huge natural gas price spikes that have befallen Europe and Asia. If the dopes occupying the White House and leading the Congress had their way, we would be suffering the fate of those places and worse. And oil? It’s suddenly trading at $80 and more per barrel, the highest price since 2014. >click to read< 11:28  U.K. Turns to Coal as Low Wind Output Increases Power Prices – U.K. power prices rose after a coal power plant switched on Monday to make up for a shortfall in wind generation and limited flows on two power cables to Ireland. >click to read< 14:32

Something Fishy: Local seafood is first class. So, what has changed?

It was in 1983 that there were around 23 trawlers working to full capacity returning to port, day after day, with excellent catches of fish and prawns. Today the local fleet numbers three boats with a return far reduced from earlier years. So, what has changed? The introduction of the Marine Park reduced the area which could be fished. The cost of diesel increased along with the wages of crewmen. One of the biggest changes has been the introduction of farmed seafood and the importation of overseas product. The remaining trawlermen continue to work hard in difficult conditions. >click to read< 12:36

Poole family in support of proposal to restore fishing trawler Pacific Venture in Laurieton.

Australian film director Damien Lay has previously announced intentions to restore the historic trawler and make it the subject of an international documentary. The vessel was built by residents and became a key boat in the extensive Camden Haven fishing fleet during the 1960s and 1970s. It is now the only remaining vessel intact in the area. Former owner Kim Poole, 65, the son of original boat owner Donald ‘Jock’ Poole, said he began working on the boat when he was 13-years-old. “It wasn’t the last boat built in Laurieton, but it supplied the fish coop for many years in the 1970s and 1990s, and there were some record catches made onboard. photos, >click to read< 21:38

Queensland’s scallop industry in doubt

Fisheries Queensland says recent figures show scallop numbers are in serious decline with the biomass, or the amount that can be fished, dropping to 12 per cent of 1977 levels. But Queensland Seafood Industry Association treasurer and scallop fisherman Kevin Reibel said completely closing the fishery would be devastating to south-east Queensland communities. >click to read< 22:00

Australian film director plans to restore and create documentary film on fishing trawler Pacific Venture

Tasmania: King Island lobster fishers fear seismic testing plans could damage the local industry

Wayne Coombe casts his mind back about 15 years when seismic testing was conducted off the island’s south west. “There was an abundance of lobster there and after that survey, it was almost like they died overnight of old age,” he said. “Lobsters just disappeared, they didn’t crawl, they were not there.” Gas giant ConocoPhillips is hoping to conduct seismic testing in mid-August at the Otway Basin to the west of King Island to assess its natural gas reservoirs. >click to read< 09:08

Banned Australian lobsters are sneaking into China via Hong Kong

Since direct shipments to China virtually ground to a halt last November, Hong Kong has become the world’s largest importer of Australian lobsters, with monthly trade growing more than 2000 per cent from October to April. While lower prices will have spurred some increased demand from Hong Kong consumers, experts say the dramatic spike is more likely due to a grey trade as the tasty crustaceans are sent across the border to the mainland. >click to read< 09:22

Something Fishy: A study in believe it or not

Researching my books I do come across some very interesting characters, none more so than former Maitland resident Athel D’Ombrain AM. Athel’s resume includes photographer, optician, naturalist, author, cricketer, pioneer angler, game fisherman and historian. Born in 1901 Athel’s contribution to society and inventiveness were significant. His fishing involvement was of most interest to me. One of Athel’s revolutionary plans was reported in the NSW Game Fishing Bulletin 1947. >click to read< 09:49

Individual transferable quota system hurting Tasmania’s fishing fleets

“ITQs have caused a decrease in owner operators and a decrease in active vessels in the fleet,, “Separation of ITQ ownership from the fishing sector has created a whole range of unintended consequences, which have ultimately seen the flow of majority of profits to investors, not the fishing fleet.” King Island Council deputy general manager Kate Mauric told the committee some fishermen felt disadvantaged due to contract management from investors, though this was not as pronounced on the island as elsewhere. >click to read< 10:54

Commercial fishers fined for potentially disturbing migrating whales in Scarborough

Two commercial fishers who potentially disturbed migrating whales off Scarborough with their unsecured lines were the first to be prosecuted under new lobster regulations. The fishers, a 72-year-old from Beaconsfield and a 44-year-old from Bateman, pleaded guilty and were each ordered to pay $7453.90 in fines and court costs at Perth Magistrate’s Court on June 9. According to the amended Management Plan for Commercial rock lobster fishing introduced in 2014, the top third of the length of the pot lines must be held vertically in the water. The officers seized nine lobster pots as a part of the lines of each pot were trailing across the surface of the water. >click to read< 10:25

Victoria takes on Tassie in the scallop pie stakes with Victorian scallops

“These are our best pies yet!” announces Apollo Bay Bakery owner Sally Cannon,,, While famous for its curried and mornay variety scallop pies, it was not until last week that Apollo Bay Bakery could use Victorian scallops. Cannon has previously relied on Chinese-grown scallops and Tasmanian,,, However, the discovery of a massive new scallop bed off the shores of Lakes Entrance in East Gippsland will lead to a fresh wave of Victorian scallops,,, A huge swath of seabed is estimated to hold nearly 8000 tonnes of scallops within 20 nautical miles of the coast. Lakes Entrance fisher Andy Watts expressed the town’s excitement. “The fleet is ready to rock and roll and head out fishing early next week,”  >click to read< 20:11

Australian lobsters back on the Chinese menu as ‘grey trade’ fires up again

Australian lobster fishermen shut out of mainland China appear to be selling millions of dollars’ worth of crayfish to the once-booming market via unofficial “grey channels”, trade experts say. Commercial fishers across the country were left reeling in November when China appeared to impose an unofficial ban on Australian lobster exports that had been worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The suspension effectively stopped the trade with China, which had been buying more than 90 per cent of lobsters exported from Australia. >click to read< 11:48

As in culling seals for conserving fish, U.S. activists try to halt an Australian way of life: Killing Kangaroos

“See, that’s a doe,” he said. “I don’t especially want to shoot a doe.” A doe usually has a joey in her pouch. He and others who hunt kangaroos bear this in mind, Mr. White said, despite claims to the contrary by American activists who are trying to shut down their livelihood, calling it inhumane. These critics, he said, just don’t understand how life actually works here in the middle of Australia. Kangaroos have been hunted on the continent for thousands of years, “and there are still more of them than people,” Mr. White said. Most important, said Mr. White, 58, a third-generation full-time shooter who goes by “Whitey,” kangaroos produce healthy meat, strong leather and the jobs that keep small towns whole. >click to read< 09:51

Something Smells Fishy: Allegations of Fraud in Ocean Acidification Research

While on tour in Australia in 2010, my friend, David Archibald said to me “Ocean Acidification is the last refuge of the climate scoundrels”. It appears he may be right. It also appears that James Cook University has a real research integrity problem, that Dr. Peter Ridd has pointed out, and got fired for daring to say it. From Science Magazine: Does ocean acidification alter fish behavior? Fraud allegations create a sea of doubt – In 2009, Munday and Dixson began to publish evidence that ocean acidification, a knock-on effect of the rising carbon dioxide level in Earth’s atmosphere, has a range of striking effects on fish behavior, such as making them bolder and steering them toward chemicals produced by their predators. But their work has come under attack. A group of seven young scientists, led by fish physiologist Timothy Clark of Deakin University, published a Nature paper reporting that in a massive, 3-year study, they didn’t see these dramatic effects of acidification on fish behavior at all. >click to read< 18:37

Shorefire fisherman Mark Rochfort feeds Christmas Island with a rod and a reel

For the past 25 years, commercial fisherman Mark Rochfort has navigated open sea off Flying Fish Cove. His company Shorefire has operated since 1994,,, Rochfort, who is nearly 60, says he still reels in fish weighing up to 200 kilograms. “I get out there in my open centre console with just a rod and reel. “People always ask me, ‘How do you do it?’ “But it’s alright — there are worse ways to make a living.” Old men and the sea – Mr Rochfort’s 83-year-old father helps him put the boat in the water every morning at 5.30am., photos, >click to read< 12:51

The last cowboys – a replay of the story of cattle in the American West

Norway, a country less than a quarter the size of Alaska, is on pace to bring 1.2 million tonnes of salmon to market this year, and the technologists in that country are talking about the potential to grow their production to 3 million tonnes per year by 2030. Chile, Scotland, the Faroe Islands, and Canada are all significant producers with lesser production in Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, France, Ireland and Finland. Meanwhile, land-based, recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) farms are threatening to lead to an explosion in salmon aquaculture almost everywhere. To truly understand the threat these farmers pose to the future of one of Alaska’s oldest and still largest industries,,, >click to read< 08:52

A “heavy mental impact” – Tasmania’s rock lobster industry suffers in trade war

Beijing cancelled the China Australia strategic economic dialogue this week, effectively ending trade relations between the two countries. For Tasmania’s rock lobster fishers this trade war is real and destroying their livelihoods and businesses in less than 12 months. Lobster fisher Kane Ebel said there was a “heavy mental impact” to the trade war. “When you get out of bed in the morning and you’ve got big debts on your boat and your house and effectively can’t go to work, it’s got to take a toll,” he told Sky News. >click to watch< 18:48

Australia: From feeding a President to a food van – This is the reality of China’s trade war

From the barley fields of Western Australia, to the lobster trawlers of Hobart,,, In a shock move, Chinese authorities claimed a sample of a rock lobster contained excessive levels of the heavy metal cadmium. Trade was effectively shut down,,, Australian government agencies has found no evidence of contamination in southern rock lobster. Without China, prices have collapsed. There are about 150 boats in the Tasmanian lobster fleet, Mr Blake fears a third will have to exit the industry,,, only last night, I had a fisherman on the phone crying to me, wondering how he’s going to pay his bills, and this is only the start.” Lobster is just one of a raft of industries hit by China’s trade sanctions, including beef, wine and barley. lots of photos, >click to read< 19:31

New Scallop Beds Discovered! Scallop Boom On Way For Victoria.

The Andrews Labor Government is delivering a boost to Gippsland’s scallop industry, lifting the allowable commercial catch for the ocean scallop fishery by more than seven times after new scallop beds were discovered off the east coast. A survey conducted near the Tarwhine oil and gas fields off Gippsland confirmed a return of harvestable scallop beds in the area, and subsequent consultation with industry bodies and licence holders has resulted in a substantial increase to the total allowable commercial catch (TACC), from 135 to 979 tonnes. >click to read< 13:55