credit to the Ron Blum Collection and Photos of the Past
The marine scalefish fishing industry is not just a story of how fish were and are caught, but also the story of the settlement of our State.
Commercial fishers supplied much of the food needed for the infant colony and fish were our State’s first export; three barrels of salted fish were shipped to Tasmania by the South Australian Company on 26th December 1836. The fishing industry was South Australia’s very first industry.
Our Industry, which has always been based in regional centres of South Australia, was built on the experience of migrants who brought with them centuries’ old fishing skills from countries including, England, Scotland, Italy, Greece, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
Our fishers’ stories are indicative of a love and respect for the sea and its fish species, often based on knowledge and experience handed down from great-great and great-grandfather, to grandfather, to son, to grandson.
Key to our fishers’ work are their wives and partners, many of whom have taken responsibility for the onshore business side of their enterprise.
Our Industry remains small scale, comprising individuals and families working from small boats and continuing the traditions their forebears introduced to South Australia generations ago. In testament to their custodianship and care for fish stocks, today we are eating the same fish species as our ancestors 186 years ago.
(Special thanks to Evelyn Wallace-Carter.)