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Mullet season drought this year

MAKING READY: Iluka mullet fisherman Mark Oestemann repairs his nets in between hauls.
MAKING READY: Iluka mullet fisherman Mark Oestemann repairs his nets in between hauls.

THE Clarence River Fishermen's Co-Operative has long been a leader in the sea mullet industry and after arming itself with a new business strategy a decade ago and adopted by its 130 members, the mullet sector has never looked back.

Netting sea mullet in the Clarence River traditionally starts on Anzac Day with the eight-week season finishing on June 30.

Some of the local fishermen say if there is a drought on land these same conditions can sometimes be mimicked in the river systems.

If this was the case, the drought well and truly broke in 2010 when the netters hauled in a whopping 226 tonne of mullet.

However, the "drought" returned this year with the catch plummeting by a third to only 161 tonne being processed by the co-operative for the season.

The top individual haul taken was 23 tonne at Iluka.

CRFC business development manager Gary Anderson said the price of mullet is always based on supply and demand, with Mexico one of the biggest threats.

Clarence River mullet is directly on-sold to four different processors in Queensland where it is processed into marketable pieces with roe from the female fish bringing the highest price.

One of the biggest markets is China, where a traditional gift to the bride and groom is fresh yellow roe on their wedding day.



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