A river full of opportunity
WHEN Peter Busby stands on the deck of his soon-to-be bait and tackle shop right on the edge of the Fitzroy River, he sees business opportunity after business opportunity.
The local owner of JAL Demolitions and Asbestos Removal and owner of Fitzroy Bait and Tackle shop in Quay St, which is set to open before Christmas, is hoping to cash in on the new recreational fishing laws by starting up his own commercial fishing charter.
The father-of-three has already been in talks with Rockhampton council about the idea and according to Peter they are "backing him all the way”.
"I had this idea about four years ago and it just turned out that council had the same idea so we're on the same track, we're just in that planning and ideas phase at the moment,” he said.
"I do a lot of outside fishing and in the river we hunt the barra and the threadfin, crabs, we have noticed lately that there has been a lot of dolphins and a lot of good marine life coming up the river since the net closure. Long term we're thinking fishing charters, crab tours or maybe even overnight fishing trips.
"How it's all going to start I'm not sure at this point but I reckon one day the business site could end up being a Co-op, depending on what people are catching.
"It's really exciting because there's such a demand for it here and council has a good plan, they're going to be bringing them in from all over Australia because this is one of the only rivers where you only get the barra and the threadfin. Every time you talk to someone, they're catching fish out here. They had good catch numbers at the Barra Bounty and with the new boat ramps going up, it's just going to open up for the recreational fisherman.
"There's just so much potential, you know.”
And it appears Peter isn't the only local who can see business opportunities when they look out on the might Fitzroy.
Cr Tony Williams said Council was continually being approached by people keen to see how they could get involved in the recreational fishing business.
"On the basis of this interest, Council was in the process of producing a series of fact sheets on recreational fishing business development in the Region,” Cr Williams said.
"These were expected to be available later this year and would help guide people through the process. Council has developed the Rockhampton Recreational Fishing Development Strategy to leverage off the opportunity we have on our doorstep.
"The Rockhampton Region is more than just the Beef Capital of Australia, it is also the traditional home of Barramundi and King Threadfin.”
Cr Williams said the establishment of industries would take time but that council was motivated by the fact there were numerous green shoots appearing in the recreational fishing industry.