Recently we announced we have awarded ten bursaries to attend the 2019 Trans-Tasman Rock Lobster Congress in Queenstown, New Zealand. The $3,000 bursaries provide professional development for future leaders of the Western rock lobster Industry and target skippers and crew members who are actively engaged in fishing operations.
Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be introducing you to our ten very deserving bursary winners of 2019!
First up is Ashley Cole – a deckhand and qualified Heavy Diesel Mechanic based in Dongara.
Ashley’s vision is that by 2030 the Western rock lobster Industry will be an economically strong and environmentally sustainable fishery.
“It would be an industry that promotes accessibility and allows for growth of the fishery while maintaining its strong economic position,” Ashley said.
Ashley believes that more industry lead training and career paths for fishing crew wishing to have a career in the industry will be invaluable and vital to a strong and successful lobster fishery.
“Growing up in a fishing family I’ve always been involved in every aspect of my family business,” he said.
“Helping with the gear repairs and doing boat work were an everyday part of his life growing up and my plan was always to work on my family’s boat which I’ve now been doing full time for 5 years.”
As a single deckhand, Ashley is solely responsible for all jobs on the deck including quality control and grading of lobster to ensure the best quality to help guarantee economic viability of each fishing trip.
Ashley is well qualified. He recently completed his MED 2 and will be doing his Master Class 5 tickets later this year, while also planning to complete the MED 1 qualification in the next 2 to 3 years. He is also a qualified Heavy Diesel Mechanic which comes in very handy on his boat!
Ashley is passionate about ensuring the continued sustainability of the fishery resource and believes research programs are essential to understanding the dynamics of the fishery.
“For a sustainable industry we must continue with research on both breeding stock and puerulus collection,” he said.
“This year we worked with Fisheries WA to conduct the breeding stock survey and I have also been working on another boat that is conducting puerulus research and lobster tagging in conjunction with UWA.”
He continues to be involved in his local Professional Fishermen’s Association and believes participating in the 2019 Trans-Tasman Rock Lobster Congress in New Zealand will allow him to network with fishers from other lobster fisheries to gain an understanding of how they work and manage their fishery.
“This gives future industry leaders an opportunity to contribute to the shaping of the Western rock lobster Industry’s future by putting forward and debating issues concerning the fishery and the people in it,” he said.
“We are constantly trying to improve our efficiency, safety and economic viability and I believe there is always something to be learned from how other people operate their business and their boats.”
We look forward to working with Ashley and his fellow bursary winners further and helping grow the positive impact our young future leaders will have on our State’s iconic Western rock lobster Industry.
The bursaries have been funded by Western Rock Lobster through its Industry Partnership Agreement with the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC).