Latitude 18 is a radio story about the Spanish Mackerel fishery on the Great Barrier Reef. The story was broadcast as a series of episodes on ABC local radio and published on ABC Open. Press play to hear the whole recording (28 minutes). Latitude 18 was written and narrated by Kate Osborne. Read more about this story. See the full credits.
GUEST POST by John Staib
My mackerel fishing boat Loco was built at Horseshoe Bay on Magnetic Island in the late 1970s and launched in 1981. It was one of half a dozen dories built at that time. The hull was fiberglass and deck and fittings were crafted from local spotted gum and beech The hull design was based on the Saint Pierre dories from Nova Scotia that were used in the cod fishery. A local fisherman Jim Wardel got the plans and shipwright Larry Bardsley built the vessels. Three of the dories built in Horseshoe went into the mackerel fishery at Latitude 18. The were named Troppo, Dingo and Loco.
The freezer on Loco could hold 90 packs of fish (900kg). At that time the Townsville Fish Board controlled the industry and paid a fixed price for mackerel. A local fisherman Ken Mills used to bag the mackerel wings and sell them at the local shop in Nelly Bay where he got a better price than for the fillets. Fillets were sold to the fish and chip shops on Magnetic Island and to the pub in Horseshoe Bay. There was also a healthy blackmarket on the mainland. If we caught a lot of fish we would take it town. Fish and ship shop owners had huge walk-in freezers hidden under their houses.
Place Stories Townsville Stories – North Queensland Creative Writers | TOWNSVILLESTORIES.COM If you would like to taste of what’s to come – check out this page. My interview with Trevor Fuller, recreational fisherman from Townsville inspired this fiction piece published with the TWPC place stories project. http://www.townsvillestories.com/place-stories/
The main spawning reefs for Spanish Mackerel on the Great Barrier Reef are Rib Reef, Bramble Reef, Britomart Reef, Keeper Reef, John Brewer reef and Lodestone Reef.
Dr Andrew Tobin is a fisheries researcher based at James Cook University in North Queensland. This interview is an unedited conversation with Kate Osborne. Excerpts from this conversation are used in the radio documentary Latitude 18.
Trevor Fuller designs and makes mackerel lures to have the flexibility to catch mackerel at different times of day and in different conditions. This video shows four of his lures.