Port Fairy professional cray fisherman Howard Sharp was one of those fishermen

Article Written By: Amy Marshall

PORT Fairy fisherman shouldn’t take long to catch on to the concept of their new live fish holding facility which was launched yesterday.

Member for Wannon, David Hawker officially opened the facility which three fisherman have been using since mid-November.

Port Fairy professional cray fisherman Howard Sharp was one of those fishermen.

He said he had definitely gained from using the tanks despite teething problems which saw almost $2000 worth of catch die.

“We just overloaded them before the bacteria had built up and (the tank) couldn’t handle it,” Mr Sharp said.

“But now when you put the crays in, the crays purge and the bacteria can clean all that stuff out of the water.

“I haven’t lost one cray since . . . I’ve got a lot of confidence in them now.”

Mr Sharp said since he has been using the storage tanks he hasn’t sold to local buyers.

“You can just store them up and wait for a better price to come along,” he said.

“It gives you more control over your product and your job.

“We’re being dictated to by buyers who say: `This is the price today, bad luck’,” he said. “The price in South Australia today is $31 (per kilogram) and the price in Warrnambool is $27.

“From there I’ve made an extra $1000.”

The two tanks in the historic bait shed off King George Square at Port Fairy are believed to be the first publicly-owned crayfish storage tanks in the country.

Moyne business and tourism director James Purcell said the tanks added to the livelihood of the Port Fairy community because of the level of activity at the wharf.

Mr Sharp said fear of losing crayfish, costs and responsibility for maintenance made some fishermen apprehensive about using the tanks.

They were content to sell their catch on the day.

“It’s a bit of a change but that’s what you’ve got to do,” he said.

Mr Purcell said the operating costs were quite small and a number of fishermen had indicated they were keen to use the tanks.

“The word that we’re getting back from the fisherman using them is that they’re happy and we think as the word gets out that its working for them that others will want to use it as well,” he said.

Source: The Standard Newspaper