Warm ocean makes fishing tough

THE long-liner Fisco 1 returned to its homeport of Narooma on Friday with a meagre catch of 10 yellowfin after two nights at sea and two shots.

Skipper Todd Abbott say it’s been a very tough yellowfin season on the Far South Coast for the commercial long-liner fleet.

Earlier this month, he steamed as far north as Forster for a ridiculous seven fish for an eight-day trip.

He has joined other local commercial fishing in observing the ocean is behaving weirdly lately with not only a lack of fish and life, but also an increasing number of warm water species.

Todd noted the lack of birds, any bait fish or squid on the recent trips.

That is not to say there are no yellowfin tuna out there at all, as the 80-odd boats fishing the Canberra Yellowfin Tournament out of Bermagui last weekend encountered 76 yellowfin tuna, with all but six released.

The warm water has also seen an influx of dolphinfish that both the recreational and commercial sectors are catching in increasing numbers in close as Montague Island.

Narooma charter boat Playstation on Friday could not find the tuna with water too warm at 24 degrees, but the day was salvaged when they came across a whole mess of big dolphinfish around some floating seaweed.

Another warm water species encountered over the summer were amberjack with several reports of catches in local estuaries and rivers.

Perhaps the most obvious sign of disruption in the ocean’s rhythms is what must be literally billions of oceanic leatherjackets terrorising the inshore fishery and reefs as for north as Jervis Bay.

Video has emerged of Chinaman leatherjackets eating and octopus alive while local trap fishermen’s traps are coming up chock full of these pest fish that also thrive on warm water.

Leatherjackets eat an octopus alive: viewer discretion advised

Darren “Dash” Bowater in his latest Narooma Ocean Hut Compleat Angler weekend fishing report (click here) sums it up nicely.

“I would hate to think of the cost the "yella terra's", have caused the commercial and charter fleet over the past month or so, but unfortunately nothing ventured, nothing gained, and as said before, while the temperature remains in the early 20s there is seemingly no light at the end of the tunnel.”

Back at the Narooma wharf, the Fisco 1 luckily always comes home with a mixed bag of other species ranging from albacore to dolphinfish to black snapper that sister Hayley Abbott puts to good use in her family business Narooma Seafood Direct.

It’s her processing and direct marketing at farmers markets and restaurants of this incidental catch helping to keep the family business afloat in tough times such as these.

Brothers Todd and Ryan meanwhile are hoping for a good southern bluefin tuna season and have secured 40 tonnes of quota.

Back in January they steamed the Fisco1 all the way to Port Lincoln, South Australia to go poling for tuna, which proved a worthwhile adventure.


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