My introduction to the fishing industry was when I married Craig. Our accountant said to me “Leave the fishing to Craig and you and I will do the rest”.
I came from a nursing background and was originally from the North Island.
That was 30 years ago and I’m still doing the book work for our fishing business as well as our barge business, “D’Urville Crossings”.
Things have become simpler over the years as far as the clerical side of things go – what with relevant computer accounting software – but there just seems to be a lot more of it now.
When we first got married (before the kids came along) Craig and I both dragged for bait and I went on the odd fishing trip but seasickness did limit me from going too far off shore.
Because of where we lived, that meant that I taught our children through their primary school years with the Correspondence School.
With quota cuts always looming, the last straw for us was losing Blue Cod quota that we hadn’t even finished paying for; so we sold our quota as a package but retained the right to fish it for the next 10 years. This did mean a change in Licensed Fish Receiver and they no longer came in to French Pass to pick up our fish. Craig or I now had to transport our own fish to meet them in Rai Valley.
At the end of the 10 years we had to reassess how the fishing was going for us as fish prices seemed to be going down or not changing at all but costs were increasing.
It was at this time we had the pleasure of meeting Donna Wells and so was the beginning of the next stage for us.
We commenced exporting our fish to the Sydney Fish Market which meant we could catch less quantity of fish but get a far better return.
With our children no longer at home, this freed me up for transporting our fish to Nelson on Monday mornings – a 4am start from French Pass.
Exporting meant having to take the lows with the highs but it was the best decision we made.
We continue to export fish but this year we have been included with the recreational fishers to be excluded from our fishing grounds from the 1st September through to the 20th December. This has definitely impacted on our fishing.
To add salt to the wound we may be shut out of our fishing grounds permanently.
So we wait….
By Donna Wells
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