SUSTAINABLE FISHING: Coral trout aboard the reef fishing vessel Maharani.
SUSTAINABLE FISHING: Coral trout aboard the reef fishing vessel Maharani.

We want to 'fish' you a Merry Christmas

SEAFOOD has always taken pride of place on Gladstone's Christmas dinner menus.

And Will Neill, manager of Wild Caught Sustainable Seafoods, said there's plenty of locally caught fish to go round.

"Fresh fish is a guilt free Christmas feed and Australian reef fish is top quality" he said.

"The ability of the Great Barrier Reef to provide fish is phenomenal and because of the way the reef has been managed over the last 10 years there's ample fish off our coast."

Mr Neill is the manager of the 18m fishing vessel Maharani a family owned and operated business which regularly fishes the Swains Reef 120 nautical miles offshore from Gladstone.

"We've been in business for six months and we're keen to improve the reputation of the fishing industry," he said.

"We work closely with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and Fisheries because we're determined to provide a sustainable future for all fisheries.

"As of January 2019 all our boats have to have GPS trackers fitted, so I got in early and had them installed on the main boat and the 5 dories.

"They're able to monitor us 24/7 and if a GPS unit stops working on a dory we can't use that boat until it's fixed or the GPS has been replaced.

"It will help GBRMPA in regards to zoning, if we're catching more fish in an area they'll be able to see how long we're there for and might ask us to give that place a rest, or conduct research as to why it's fishing so well."

 

SUSTAINABLE FISHING: Coral trout aboard the reef fishing vessel Maharani.
SUSTAINABLE FISHING: Coral trout aboard the reef fishing vessel Maharani.

Mr Neill said the changes will assist in the management of the fishery.

"The industry is very heavily regulated, but it's good, because you can't just keep raiding the reef," he said.

"It's part of moving towards a more sustainable, long term fishery."

He said fresh fish will be featuring on his table this Christmas.

"I'm very partial to coral trout, it's an absolute delicacy, " Mr Neill said.

"I'm a bit spoilt because there's never a shortage of it in my house."