I’ve taught four or five young people to fish and three of them are now professional fishers. They love fishing and being their own bosses.

Chris Catsambalis

My parents came to Australia from Greece.  They were fishers and farmers, growing tobacco, tomatoes and corn, and it wasn’t until their arrival in Australia that they realised Australian farmers grew mainly grains, like wheat.

My father’s first job was in Adelaide with the railways.  When his mates told him about the fishing in Ceduna, Mum and Dad moved here and Dad took up fishing.  My father didn’t want me to be a fisherman so tried reverse psychology, thinking that if he took me fishing all the time, I wouldn’t like it.  This worked for a while but as time went on I grew to really enjoy it.

When I was 21, I and another fisher were the last to receive from the government a marine scale licence for free.  I’ve fished all my life and as many days as I can but it’s getting harder now because I’m getting older.  My father fished for 70 years, my brother for 55 years, I’ve been fishing for 45 years and my son has been fishing for 15 years.  It’s got to be in you to like fishing, if you don’t then you won’t succeed.

Fishing is hard work and unless you love it, you won’t do it.  If you don’t know the ocean, then you put yourself at risk.  I’ve been a fisher for long enough that I can feel relatively safe, but you’re never really safe.  I’ve taught four or five young people to fish and three of them are now professional fishers.  They love fishing and being their own bosses.

I fish for everything; whiting, shark, snapper squid, snook, bronze whalers, whatever is going at that time of year.  I know the areas, the times of year and the weather.

Years ago, I was a net fisher but now I do mainly line fishing, with two hooks.  I fish out of an 18 footer and it’s just big enough for the job. I used to head out as early as 3:00am but now leave about 8:00am and fish for three or four hours.  If it is a good day then I will stay out until 6:00pm.  I used to sell to all the buyers in Adelaide and knew them all.  It was Laurie Scott and I who, 48 years ago, were the first people to get fish tubs and start a fish market run between Ceduna and Adelaide.

Over the years, another local fisher and I have participated in local research for SARDI and SeaNet.  With SARDI, we’ve been involved in tagging King George Whiting and a snapper lobe survey that proved that snapper spawned here.  The findings of this survey have stood the test of time and were supported by another survey done only in the last few months.  With SeaNet, we did an impact study on gummy sharks and long lining.

Also, my wife and I have fostered children and at one point I was heavily involved with the local community in trying to get a fishing program started for aboriginal youth.

My most memorable fishing experience was in 2013 when I was out fishing with my son and grandson.  We caught the highest catch of whiting ever recorded here in one day.

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