10th June 2013: Update from Heard Island
Good morning all,
And so we begin our final weeks fishing here for toothfish at the HIMI for the Isla Eden’s maiden voyage. This week has had its ups and downs, fishing wise we have had some mediocre days and a good sprinkling of good days to help boost our averages along. The current area we have been working is surrounded by some rather deep and jagged canyons and we have had to do a little searching in order to find enough clear ground in which to set our lines, but this has had its rewards and we are still learning a lot about the area.
So to this end, over the next few days we will set more lines in the desirable depths and hope we do not run out of ground to fish before we head away from the HIMI. We have also slowly been collecting some nice examples for the taxidermists to work their magic with, so we have a small collection of these handsome chaps (and “chappettes”) tucked away in the cooks freezer for shipping back. Hoping these will be adequate examples for the Glacier 51 Toothfish displays!
Once again the crew have been a happy bunch producing some fine product and giving a good account. One very unfortunate “down” part of the weeks was myself being woken from the depths in order to apply several stitches to Daryono’s hand after he had lost a battle with a hook at the hauling station. Quite a “freak” accident but one we have already taken measures to ensure it doesn’t happen again. So Daryono (who was our top long gaff man) has been a one armed Trojan in the hook room, at his own insistence! Such is the calibre of these chaps.
So here’s hoping our final week at the HIMI is a great one, with some great catches to top off our trip with. Sadly the weather man has delivered us a challenge for the coming week with little respite between blows, but I’m sure all aboard will take it in their stride… The upside is a good outlook for departure day.
Wishing you all a great week, all for now.
Captain, FV Isla Eden
28th May 2013: Ocean treat to sink your teeth into
The next big thing is set to hit the finest restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne.
Ten years ago, Patagonian toothfish conjured images of illegal fishing and endangered species.
Now, one of the world’s rarest, hardest-to-catch fish is about to land in restaurants and, in about six months, in shops.
The Australian government has patrolled its territorial waters to keep out illegal fishers and Austral Fisheries, which now has a 2000-tonne annual quota, uses hooks and lines to selectively catch the toothfish.
Chef Neil Perry describes the fish they catch 4000 kilometres offshore as ”supremely delicious, sustainable and Australian”. Perry isn’t the only enthusiast. Launched at the Noosa International Food and Wine Festival, Glacier 51 toothfish – named after the Heard Island glacial waters in which it’s caught – was so well received, salesman Dylan Skinns admitted, ”we can barely keep up with the orders”.
This week it goes on the menu at Rockpool Bar & Grill in both Sydney and Melbourne, as well as at Sake in Sydney and Grossi Florentino in Melbourne.
The fish lives in the ice-cold water of the Antarctic’s Great Southern Ocean. It’s an oily fish with a high fat content to withstand the freezing conditions, but this makes for a fish of great versatility and deep, rich flavour.
”A chef’s dream, they tell me,” Skinns says.
There were other chefs’ dreams at the festival, with Martin Benn of Sydney’s Sepia discovering salumi – handcrafted smallgoods, including rolled pancetta, flat pancetta, salami of all varieties, cured loin, dried Sardinian sausage, and guanciale (cured pork jowl). ”It will be on the bar menu [at Sepia] before the end of the week,” Benn says.
Food of the future was the focus of a panel discussion, with Peter Gilmore of Quay restaurant saying there would be less focus on foraging by chefs. More technique-driven cooking with a ”big emphasis on texture” were his tips for restaurant trends.
And David Kinch of Manresa restaurant in California agreed texture was growing in importance. ”There are certain cuts of meat that have texture … more people are realising that’s just the inherent nature of the meat and something to be celebrated,” he said.
By Sue Bennet, for Goodfood.com.au
27th May 2013: Isla Eden sails for Southern Ocean
Peter Stevens, Austral’s general manager in charge of its Southern Deep Sea Fisheries arm, said that Isla Eden has been ice-rated before leaving the yard in Norway for its 40-day delivery trip to Mauritius and Kjell Inge Sjåstad at the Båtbygg yard told Fishing News International that the Isla Eden’s refit has been a sizeable job for the yard, with benefits for the surrounding region as a number of sub-contractors from the area around Måløy have been involved in the refit.
Jakob Hals at Fiskevegn commented that they have had a good relationship with Austral Fisheries since the delivery of a full system in 2007 for the longliner Austral Leader II.
“This is one of the largest single orders for a while,” Jakob Hals said, adding that Fiskevegn are also supplying a year’s supply of fishing gear as part of the package for when Isla Eden begins fishing in early May.
Isla Eden sailed from Norway with a year’s worth of fishing gear on board, as well as the BFG deck hardware and some additional supplies to be delivered to Austral Fisheries’ other liner, Austral Leader II.
“These are our weighted IW-X deep sea longlines and a million snooded hooks. It has been a pleasure for Fiskevegn to be able to follow this project jointly with Austral Fisheries, from an early stage to its recent successful launching of the longliner, ready to start fishing,” said Fiskevegn managing director Trond Inge Kvernevik.
“All vessel investments are big decisions, and hitting the ground running with an effective operation is essential.
“Besides being a total supplier of mechanical longlining equipment, and offering a full range of swivel-line fishing gear and accessories, we do have several decades’ track record in this industry. We strive to build on that to contribute know-how as well as equipment to our customers,” he commented.
As well as the year’s supply of heavy-duty 12mm IW-X weighted lines, Isla Eden also sailed with supplies of Fiskevegn’s four-strand impregnated Silver end ropes and the hooks are EC 15/0 type. All other fishing gear was supplied by Fiskevegn.
According to Fiskevegn’s sales manager, Jakob Hals, the co-operation with Austral Fisheries goes back to 2007 with Fiskevegn’s involvement in the rebuilding of the company’s first longliner, Austral Leader II, which had originally been a Danish purse seiner.
“We assisted Austral Fisheries in acquiring Isla Eden. The nearly boat was originally built in Norway for American Seafoods, and later fished from Argentina under the name Antarctic 2,” he explained.
“It was then sold to new owners in Chile and renamed Isla Eden. When it was again up for sale, we brought the prospect to the attention of Austral Fisheries, resulting in the boat getting a new owner last December.”
Egil Moe, head of sales of BFG automatic longline systems at Fiskevegn, told Fishing News International that Fiskevegn has always had a very good partnership with Austral Fisheries and that they look forward to continue providing services and equipments to the company’s two longliners in the future.
“The several thousand lines and million hooks that are delivered from Flatraket are enough for a year’s supply. In addition, Fiskevegn’s 100% owned subsidiary, Best Fishing Gear (BFG), has upgraded the automatic longline system on Isla Eden.
“We assisted in layout and solutions and delivered a complete BFG Automatic Longline system for Austral Leader II, and based on the positive experiences there, the system on board Isla Eden has been upgraded to a modern BFG system,” Egil Moe said, adding that BFG will also provide new hook magazines to Isla Eden after the vessel’s first trips outside Mauritius are completed.
“They will start fishing with the magazines they have, and then replace them with the new ones after a few months,” Jakob Hals said, commenting that as well as the equipment on board Isla Eden, more gear is being shipped in containers to Mauritius.
-Taken from IntraFish, Fishing News International, May 2013
24th May 2013: Glacier 51 Toothfish launched on the Australian market
The journey to get to the grounds for the Patagonian toothfish takes more than a week and boats stay out for more than 70 days at a time.
Now, after battling pirate crews, government indifference and the logistics of fishing in such challenging conditions, Perth-based Austral Fisheries is taking on a new fight – convincing Australian consumers that their catch is ethically sound and delicious.
More than 10 years ago Patagonian toothfish was in the news when the Federal Government sent boats down to the ground near Heard Island and intercepted illegal fishers.
According to Austral Fisheries chief executive David Carter this has given the fish a bad name.
“It’s like trying to convince people to eat pandas,” Mr Carter said.
“We need to build our social licence.”
The company is licensed to take 2000 tonnes of the fish each year and has worked to gain Marine Stewardship Council certification for sustainability.
Up to now, however, most of the fish has been exported to the United States and Japan where it is highly prized.
“We’ve treated it as a bit of a commodity. But it’s time to tell our story and connect the things we do with consumers,” Mr Carter said.
This weekend, at the Noosa International Food and Wine Festival, the fish was launched on the Australian market with the Glacier 51 brand.
Leading chefs have taken little convincing. The fish has high oil content meaning its white, waxy flesh has a unique buttery texture and also can be frozen and transported without deteriorating.
“I’ve never been a fan of frozen fin fish,” chef and restaurant entrepreneur Neil Perry said. “But because of its oil content it freezes well and has great flavour and texture.
“And it has a phenomenal story of sustainability and the long-term vision to make it work.
“Then there is the incredible hardship of fishing in Antarctic waters. What those guys go through is extraordinary.”
Italo-Argentinian chef Mauro Colagreco agrees.
“Because it is fished so far under the sea where it is very cold, the meat is very white and fat and when you cook it slowly on the barbecue the taste is amazing,” said the head chef at Mirazur in France, number 28 on the prestigious San Pellegrino Best Restaurants list.
For sales enquiries, contact Dylan Skinns at firstname.lastname@example.org
23rd April 2013: Toothfish numbers declared sustainable
Australia’s toothfish fisheries have been declared sustainable by two influential bodies following adjustments in fishing methods.
Just 15 years ago the fishery was on the verge of being decimated by poachers in the Southern Ocean.
In an unusual partnership, environmentalists and the industry campaigned together to encourage consumer boycotts as well as increased surveillance at sea and more controls in ports.
The poaching has been mostly wiped out and changes in fishing gear has seen the number of albatross being caught in fishing lines massively reduced.
Alistair Graham from the World Wildlife Fund says collaboration between the toothfish industry and environmentalists has helped stamp out illegal fishing.
“By working together combining our networks and way of doing things we had a spectacular effect on the public policy environment both domestically and internationally but also on commercial behaviour,” he said.
Martin Exel from the Coalition of Legal Toothfish Operators says a lot of work has been put in and now only a handful of birds are being killed.
The Australian fisheries at Heard and Macquarie Islands have now been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council as sustainable.
Mr Exel says America’s most influential seafood rating agency, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, has also taken notice.
“In Australia’s case both of our fisheries are rated best choice which aligns with the Marine Stewardship Council Certification where both of our fisheries are rated as well managed and sustainable,” he said.
9th April 2013: Australian Toothfish confirmed as world’s Best Choice
Today’s announcement from the experts at America’s Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBAQ) Seafood Watch program recognises Australia’s Patagonian toothfish as the environmental ‘Best Choice’ in seafood.
MBAQ provides consumer advice on over 2,400 fisheries around the world and is widely respected for the high quality and independence of its work.
CEO of Austral Fisheries, David Carter, said today “This is another milestone in an extraordinary journey for a fishery that has gone from poachers and problems, to be recognized internationally as best practice and sustainable.” Carter went on to say “This has only been possible through the cooperation and efforts of many in conservation, management, science and responsible industry. We are immensely proud of this result.”
This announcement comes hot on the heels of the independent certification last year of both Australian toothfish fisheries to the high standards set by the Marine Stewardship Council. That rating confirmed the fisheries were well managed and sustainable.
Les Scott, Managing Director of Australian Longline Pty Ltd, said today “This approval by Seafood Watch just shows what can be achieved by companies who are determined to manage a fishery sustainably and invest in research and innovation as we have.” Scott went on to say “Patagonian toothfish offers a truly unique culinary experience unmatched by other fish species – it is versatile and a favourite with chefs. Restaurateurs and consumers enjoy this seafood knowing we deliver to the highest international standards, from the beginning to the end of the supply chain.”
There are two toothfish fisheries located in Australia’s sub-Antarctic regions – one around Macquarie Island to the south of Tasmania, the other around Heard Island and McDonald Islands, south-west of Fremantle. Both fisheries include large Marine Protected Areas with the Heard and McDonald Islands Marine Reserve covering 65,000 square kilometres with an additional 11,500 square kilometres soon to be included, and the Macquarie Island Marine Park covering 162,000 square kilometres.
The official media release can be found below, which contains information on where you can source our MSC certified & MBAQ Best Choice Toothfish.
Australian Industry media release: Australian Toothfish confirmed as world’s Best Choice
COLTO media release: Put toothfish on your table
The full MBAQ Seafood Watch Toothfish Report can be found on the Monterey Bay Aquarium website.
2nd April 2013: Northern Prawn fishers walk the talk on sustainability
Commercial fishers from the sustainably accredited Northern Prawn Fishery underwent new TAFE-recognised training on best-practice fishing before the current Banana Prawn season started yesterday.
The Northern Prawn Fishery, which stretches across the top of the country from Western Australia to Queensland, recently became Australia’s first tropical prawn fishery to receive the iconic ‘blue tick’ of sustainability from the Marine Stewardship Council.
Skippers and crew in the fishery put up their hands to undertake the training course, part of a collaborative program between the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and the Northern Prawn Fishery Industry Pty Ltd as part of the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country program.
Australian Fisheries Management Authority CEO Dr James Findlay said that the training would assist fishers to reduce their bycatch and avoid protected species such as turtles.
“It’s great to see the fishers looking to improve their understanding of bycatch reduction devices and learn practical ways to limit impact on the environment”, Dr Findlay said.
Northern Prawn Fishing Industry Executive Officer, Annie Jarrett said that the fishery had built its reputation on environmental practices, delivering tasty, Australian-caught prawns to local and international consumers.
“This training initiative provides a great opportunity for our crew to continue to develop their knowledge and skills in this area, which is a great thing for us and for the Australian community”, Ms Jarrett said.
Successful graduates will receive a nationally-recognised TAFE certificate demonstrating their knowledge of sustainable fishing practices.
For more information regarding the training please contact Matt Barwick, NPFI Projects Manager on 0422 752 789, or email@example.com.
- taken from AFMA.
26th March 2013: Scholar seeks strategies to keep whales at bay
Austral’s Rhys Arangio gets a write up in this months FRDC FISH magazine on his 2012 Nuffield Scholarship.
25th March 2013: Austral prawns this Easter at Woolies
Keep an eye on your TVs this Easter for the latest Woolworths Fresh Food update, focusing on Austral Fisheries’ sustainable Banana prawns from the MSC certified Northern Prawn Fishery.
Listen to what our General Manager, Andy Prendergast has to say:
BANANA PRAWN RECIPE
Pete Evans shows us how easy it is to cook and serve a delicious MSC Certified Banana Prawn from the NPF.
To view his recipe, click here: