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Tuna boat creates interest in Yamba

Lynne Mowbray |

The sight of a large silver catamaran unloading its catch drew interest from locals in Yamba, last Thursday morning.

Passersby watched on as an array of large fish (yellowfin and big eye tuna, a couple of striped marlin and broadbill swordfish) were weighed and transferred to waiting trucks.

Brothers Ryan (24) and Todd Abbott (30) owners of the long line fishing boat are third generation tuna fishermen from Narooma on the NSW South Coast.

Ryan said that this was their second time to Yamba to offload their catch.

“We’ve just returned from an eight day trip (six days fishing and two days travelling) fishing about 180 (nautical) miles off Yamba,” Ryan said.
“We’ll stay (in this area) while the fish are here or until the cyclones come and then we’ll head back down south.
“We fish right up into Queensland and down to the top of Tassie,” he said.
Ryan told The Independent that they named their new boat “D and D” after their grandparents (Des and Dot Creighton), who started fishing in 1949 down in Narooma.
“The boat is 12 months old today,” Ryan said.
“It’s an awesome sea boat; it’s stable and has a good work platform and it’s safe – that’s the reason why we built it, for safety.
“The boat’s 23 metres long by 10 metres wide, with an operating weight of between 150 – 170 ton and 220 ton fully loaded.
“We built the catamaran for coming into shallow ports, because the ports at home are very shallow,” he said.
Ryan said that the long liner catamaran is crewed by himself and three others.
“Our lines are about 25-30 miles long, which we run out and then go back to the other end and start winching straight away,” Ryan said.
“It takes about six hours and we aim to keep the fish live because there’s better money in them live and any by catches are released live.
“We normally fish up here in winter and we try and off load (our catch) at least once a week; however we keep returning to Narooma because Narooma is home.
“Most of the swordfish will end up back in Narooma because we process them back there; my sister runs that business, Narooma Seafood Direct.”

Ryan said that the fishery is carefully monitored and regulated.

“Our boat has 24 hours surveillance; the government watch us the whole time we’re at sea, so we can’t do anything wrong,” Ryan said.
“It’s fully sustainable; we want it to last forever for generations to come,” he said.
Cathal ‘Carl’ Farrell of Upscale Seafoods Pty Ltd who owns an export facility in Coffs Harbour, was at the wharf in Yamba on Thursday to transport the seafood by truck.
“We’ve got around six ton of fish which we will transport back to our processing facility in Coffs Harbour,” Carl said.
“By this afternoon it will be on a plane to Sydney, Melbourne and the USA,” he said.