Cover image thanks to Ian Johnston, from his new book The Shank Revisited.
With the opening of ‘cray’ season (or rock lobster season) this month, the boat ramps have been busy and the bays have been full with pots. This reminded us how lucky we are to usually have quite a few purpose built cray fishing vessels enter our Festivals, as well a number of converted fishing boats too. Whether you fish recreationally or professionally, you can’t beat a good crayfish feed. Although, did you know cray’s have not always been a delicacy? Upon reading TSIC’s oral histories you will learn how they were once only used for ‘stripey bait’ and how the industry has changed over the years, with pots being banned, and legalised once again.
If you’ve never heard of them before, The Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council (TSIC for short) is the peak body representing the interests of wild capture fishers, marine farmers and seafood processors in Tassie. During our normal Festival TSIC often team up with local chefs to showcase our beautiful seafood in their Seafood Kitchen. While on-water, we showcase dozens of traditional style fishing vessels, many of them dating back to the original fishing days. Whether it be Couta Fishing, Scallop Fishing or Cray Fishing, Tasmania has always been well known for beautiful fresh fish and beautiful clean waters.
If you know of AWBF co-founder Ian Johnston, you will know he’s quite partial to a dive over the side of his wooden boat Juliene for a cray. But only to catch enough for a feed. Remember to ensure your fishing licence is up to date and all of your gear is marked appropriately and comply with all the rules. We are lucky enough to have so many organisations that share the love of fishing, such as MAST, DPIPWE, and TSIC so let’s work together with them to ensure there’s plenty of fish for all to enjoy into the future. Good luck and stay safe!