A small 20 kilo bounty: Fisherman Ben Campbell returns to shore with his catch after prawn trawling on the opening day of the prawn season in Lake Wooloweyah yesterday.
A small 20 kilo bounty: Fisherman Ben Campbell returns to shore with his catch after prawn trawling on the opening day of the prawn season in Lake Wooloweyah yesterday. Debrah Novak

Tough start for fishermen

IT didn’t take long for Clarence River trawler operators to realise the opening of Lake Wooloweyah to trawling yesterday would not provide the silver bullet they wanted.

After the worst river trawling season on record last year, trawler operators were hoping for decent catches to open the season, but it wasn’t to be.

Professional Fishermen’s Association executive officer John Harrison said there were very few prawns caught yesterday and most boats had returned to their moorings by 8am.

“It was not a good start,” he said.

He said a 35 knot southerly wind and fresh water moving down the river may have had an impact on prawn numbers, but only time would tell whether the impending ‘fresh’ in the river from the deluge of the past week would push prawns out to sea or into the lake.

Some prawns may have simply buried themselves in the mud to avoid the rough conditions.

He said before the Wooloweyah trawling season opened, pocket netters in the Lawrence, Broadwater and South Arm areas had been getting decent catches and he was hoping those prawns would move down river.

Last year the river trawling season closed early because of poor prawn sizes. But the start of last year’s season was promising.

“At least they got prawns on opening day last year,” Mr Harrison said.



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