Fishers hope mullet has big 2009

CLARENCE Valley fishers are hoping to make mullet as popular in 2009 as the haircut was in the 80s.

“People under-value mullet, it's actually a very, very good fish to eat,” Clarence Professional Fishing representative John Harrison said.

So for tips on how to boost the public's opinion of the fish, the Clarence River Fishermen's Co-operative (CRFC) is looking to Western Australia, where the sale of mullet is thriving.

Five members of the CRFC will spend this week at Shark Bay to gets tips on a packaging technique that has boosted sales and profits of the fish.

CRFC chairman David Anderson said fishers caught mullet all year round in the Clarence so it wasn't catching the fish that was the problem.

It was keeping it fresh after it was caught that had proved tough because mullet had a shorter shelf life than other fish.

“You've got to be able to get it to market fresh, so you've got to get it there quickly,” Mr Anderson said yesterday.

“The sooner the better with mullet.”

But at Shark Bay, mullet fillets are cryovac packed as they are processed so the fish stay fresher longer.

The packaging is also branded and includes extras like recipes, something that appeals to supermarket shoppers.

The WA packaging has been so successful the fishers now have an open order for mullet with Independent Grocers Alliance (IGA) and that's what Clarence fishers would love.

Mr Harrison said they weren't trying to steal the IGA contract, but wanted to learn how they too could get a big customer for Clarence Valley mullet.

The mullet roe season starts at Easter, but washed-out fish have been seen in large schools along the coastline at Wooli and Minnie Water.

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