Skipper Jamie Payne, pictured at Ballina Wharf, supports the trial.
Skipper Jamie Payne, pictured at Ballina Wharf, supports the trial. "It could be a really good thing because it would make people more aware of what we do," he said. Patrick Gorbunovs

Trawlers to sell catch at Fawcett Park under six-month trial

AN idea to sell fresh seafood from the back of trawlers at Fawcett Park in Ballina will be trialled for six months.

In May, Ballina Shire Council agreed to support the concept, after it was suggested by Denise Piper, the owner of the fishing vessel, the Kiama.

She said it would be an innovative way for struggling trawler owners to make extra money.

She also said selling prawns and fish straight off the boat would be a boost for tourism in Ballina.

What you can expect to buy

POLL: Would you prefer to buy your seafood straight off the trawler?

Osiris skipper Jamie Payne said he supported the idea so long as it was fair for all trawler operators.

"I've been doing this for 25 years and we have troubles getting out of the trawler harbour and then troubles getting out over the bar," he said.

We're thinking the trawlers will sell from the wharf on Saturday mornings, probably finishing up about 11am.

"I guess if people were able to buy the prawns straight off the boat, they would know exactly where they came from.

"It could be a really good thing because it would make people more aware of what we do."

Ballina Fishermen's Co-op general manager Phil Hilliard confirmed he put the proposal to members and said three trawler owners had agreed to participate.

"They think it will be a great idea," he said.

"We are going to have a trial of it for six months, and that's if the final approvals are given by NSW Maritime, but I don't think that should be a problem.

"We're thinking the trawlers will sell from the wharf on Saturday mornings, probably finishing up about 11am.

"Three trawlers have indicated that they are willing to go on a roster."

However, Mr Hilliard said that, as the operator of the co-op's retail outlet, he was concerned it would impact on the shop's profit line.

"I am concerned it will damage the retail outlet," he said.

"The problem for us is, while people are down there at the wharf getting their seafood off the trawler, there are fewer people coming into the shop.

"If individual fishermen are selling their product at a premium location, then it will affect the income for the other guys."

Mr Hilliard said he was confident the trial would be successful, at least in the short term.

Would you prefer to buy your seafood straight from the trawler?

This poll ended on 26 July 2013.

Current Results

Yes

81%

No

9%

I'd rather go catch it myself

9%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

LOCAL CATCHES

  • King prawns
  • Tiger prawns
  • Spanner crabs
  • Snapper
  • Whiting
  • Mullet

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