Fresh helps flush catch out to sea
By JENNIFER HUXLEY
DESPITE the increase in prawn catches after recent rainfall, Des Johnson is barely keeping his 'head above water'.
The Maclean-based fisher- man said low seafood sales and exorbitant diesel prices were making his financial situation bleak.
"The prawns are plentiful and are a good size, but all we're doing is working," said Mr Johnson.
"As for the financial situa- tion, let's just say I'm living ... it's costing me between $900 and $1000 in fuel a week just to work."
Clarence River Fisher- men's Co-op manager Rus- sell Creighton said more than two tonnes of prawns had been sold since Friday.
"We have so many prawns here we're trying to figure out what to do with the things," Mr Creighton said.
"There is always a bit of a slump in sales following the Christmas period but we're hoping things pick up for Australia Day.
"The prawns are of such high quality we're going to freeze them to sell later in the year."
Fisherman's Association industry representative John McGuren said the increase in school and king prawn catches was a combined result of rainfall and seasonal conditions.
He said without a flood the increase in king prawn catches was likely to be a short-term occurance.
"Rains and storms have flushed out the river, mov- ing the school prawns downriver," Mr McGuren said.
"When we get a good flush late in the season it pushes the kings living in the river out into the ocean."