The website latitude18fishing.com provides supporting material for the radio documentary Latitude 18.
Latitude 18 tells the story of the Spanish Mackerel fishery at Latitude 18 on the Great Barrier Reef. The Spanish Mackerel fishery has been an integral part of north Queensland’s economic and social history since the early 1900’s.
Latitude 18 it is a story about social change. The commercial fishery for Spanish Mackerel on the east coast has declined over decades while recreational fishing is steadily increasing. Interviews with fishermen capture the spirit and knowledge of the older generation of fishers, who were out on the reef before the age of modern navigation and fishing technology.
Spanish Mackerel are migratory fish that travel the length of the Great Barrier Reef every year following the East Australian Current. Between September and November they return to the reefs at Latitude 18 off Townsville to breed. Fisheries researcher Dr Andrew Tobin, has been studying the fish at the reefs off Townsville and says it is “the most remarkable spawning aggregation of any fish on the Great Barrier Reef.” Dr Tobin talks about his research and we learn how social change in the fishery, has interacted with the science of determining if the fishery is sustainable.