We were lucky enough to meet Glen and Tracey Hill, who own and self-operate Wild Coorong Seafood in South Australia, and experience for ourselves a day in the life of a fisherman and the challenges faced within the fishing industry.
Glen Hill has been a fisherman for nearly 25 years and in business as a fisherman on the Coorong inlet for the past 10 years. His vast level of experience is evident from his rather impressive beard, but more so from his extensive knowledge of the Coorong and the fishing industry in general. Glen sets out early each morning (in order to beat the pelicans) to pull in nets from different parts of the Coorong which catch mullet, mulloway and bream. Day to day fishing can vary although Glen tries to target 5 boxes of mullet a day in a series of nets.
Glen fishes to order, his nets are sized specifically for these fish species and the depth of the nets are also very important to the environment as it does not touch the bottom of the inlet which leaves the sediment on the Inlet floor to stay natural and enable other creatures & sea life such as crabs and reefs to their natural state. These practices make his business completely sustainable. This is very important to Glen and Tracey, who are both involved with the government as industry people trying to promote and control sustainable fishing both in the Coorong region, and across South Australia.
Over the past ten years with the Murray River being extremely low from years of drought, maintaining the ecosystem has been both difficult and extremely necessary for Glen and Tracey’s business. This has led to them becoming a voice for the industry to help the government see how sustainable their practice is. Glen also believes that over fishing is a problem on the commercial side of things so this is why he has adapted to fishing to order, where by reducing the chance of over fishing and also increase freshness for the consumer.
Whilst Glen is out on the Coorong hauling in fish, Tracey runs the processing factory for the fish – right in their backyard! The fish goes through descaling and filleting process. The local pub always has some fresh mulloway or mullet on the menu, and is very popular amongst the locals. When asked if he eats any fish from SA like snapper or tuna, Glen replied, “Why would I need to when the fish here is so good!”
Coorong wild seafood produce some snap lock frozen products that can be purchased by the consumer as a ready to go single portion packs. Glen also practices a no waste approach to fishing with all of the skeletons and guts going in to big frozen blocks that he sells to the public for bait.
The passion both Glen and Tracey have for their trade shows in the final product. After our 6am start on the Coorong with Glen pulling in nets and teaching us the tricks of the trade, we were lucky enough to enjoy fresh fish cooked on the BBQ with some lemon and foraged ice plant, and as we defrosted our hands over the grill, we were able to really appreciate the value of amazingly fresh produce.
Wild Coorong Seafood