This Saturday we welcomed Wayne Cripps to the Warragul Farmers’ Market.
Wayne family has been fishing Port Franklin in South Gippsland for over 150 years.
Wayne is a fourth-generation fisherman, that holds one of 19 licenses to net fish around Corner Inlet, fishing in depths of 2m in a 60km strip from Wilsons Promontory to Toora, with his license limiting him to fish on weekdays only. “We can’t fish if it’s over 20 knots, so it means we end up fishing about three of those five days,” says Wayne.
Wayne sells half of his catch to the markets and the other half is sold in the Cripps fish shop at Port Franklin which is open Thursday to Saturday, as well as at farmers’ markets.
The fish shop opened in 2003 and was created out of political strife — just one of many political challenges the Cripps family has faced in recent decades. In the early 2000s, the then Victorian Government announced the creation of marine parks around the state’s coastline, with 25 per cent of Corner Inlet earmarked as a marine park. “I had a fair bit to say about that,” said Wayne, who heavily lobbied the government and protested on the streets outside parliament. Wayne predicted amateur fishermen would push for further buybacks in remaining inlets and bays — Corner Inlet and Lakes Entrance. “Can’t you see a trend here? There may be a million amateur fishermen but it takes people like myself to feed the rest of the population. “If amateurs win out, there will be no fresh fish except what’s imported or deep sea. Australia already imports more than 80 per cent of our fish. ”He said another major problem to the Corner Inlet fishery was the loss of sea grasses due to pollution. With plenty of time to think whilst waiting for the nets to fish, he often wondered what it would be like for the life of a Crayfish, so he decided to write a book – Charlie the Crayfish 🦞 … Wayne can add book author to his CV
Information source/credit @theweeklytimes