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Salmon fishers go back to the sea

Tayler NealeAlbany Advertiser

The salmon season kicked off last week as the Cheynes Beach Fishing Group got busy, bring-ing in an impressive 17-tonne haul.

Dumpy Wheatcroft, who was part of the five-man team that brought in last Wednesday’s catch, is a third-generation salmon fisherman and has been in the industry for 30 years.

Mr Wheatcroft said the procedure for catching the fish had not changed much in his time as a fisherman.

“We feed the net out around the school of fish, then a machine brings the net back in and the catch is loaded and then moved on to be processed,” he said.

“They used to use row boats to feed the net out but we’ve had jet boats for a while now.”

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This year, Mr Wheatcroft expects to bring in 30- 40 tonnes for the season — a far cry from the golden days when up to 3000 tonnes would be caught on the South Coast. The decline in the industry has centred on a decrease in demand, with salmon lacking a reputation as a quality edible fish.

“Our market disappeared and the industry closed up,” Mr Wheatcroft said.

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