Hopes high for top mullet season



MULLET are running on the Tweed coast again and fingers are crossed for a boom season.

Heavy hauls have already been taken from southern areas around Newcastle over the past three weeks.

And with the onset of cool weather more northern waters are expected to join the annual

bonanza.

Tweed fishermen are buoyant about a boom season on the way, though pro-cessers have sounded a more cautious note.

Warren Markwell seafood processors in Chinderah have had a hectic few weeks processing southern catches.

Plant manager Robin Passmore said yesterday between 300 and 400 tonnes had processed so far.

He said while quantities had tailed off in recent days it was hoped more northerly waters would kick in to take up the slack.

"We really haven't had the cold weather to get things going," he said.

"People are still wandering around in their shirt sleeves.

"At the moment it has been just an average year."

But that could all change in a hurry.

Long-time Kirrabased fisherman and prominent industry personality Paul Gibson was yesterday posting a lookout on the beach at Kirra along with up to a dozen other fishermen.

"We're expecting a beauty this year," he said. "It's only really just started here, but the signs are looking good."

Mullet have been a significant export earner with roe stripped from females being in particular demand.

"Returns to fishermen will depend a lot on the value of the dollar," said Mr Gibson.

"But we're feeling pretty optimistic this year.

"The industry employs hundreds of people in various capacities."

Meanwhile, amateur fishermen have been reporting huge schools on the Tweed coast.

Anglers at Cabarita fishing for tailor say they have had difficulty casting lines properly because the spinners on their lines have been tangling with the mass of mullet in the water.



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