Meet Frank Rodriguez, our final deserving recipient of one of 10 bursaries to attend the 2019 Trans-Tasman Rock Lobster Congress in Queenstown, New Zealand.
Based in Fremantle, Frank is a fourth-generation lobster fisherman and a qualified heavy-duty marine diesel mechanic, with a qualification as an Engineering tradesperson mechanical stream. He is also a strength and conditioning coach at a gym in Fremantle.
Frank said that first and foremost the Western rock lobster industry should be valued by both government and the community. His vision includes for the industry to have flexible management, for sustainability to be at the forefront at all times, and whereby a robust quota system delivers maximum benefits to fishermen, the environment and the community alike.
“We need to continue to create reliable and performance driven value supply chains for our product,” Franks said.
“I believe we can make important choices to make Western rock lobster accessible for every consumer in Western Australia.”
Frank said that with his knowledge and skills, he believes he can contribute to the achievement of his vision through continually attending various industry meetings. He would like to become a more active member in the industry and provide a key role in the community.
“I would also like to further my involvement in the industry by maintaining my study and finding new ways in technology, along with the sustainability aspect of lobster fishing,” he said.
“With the increase of technologies especially in Sonar/GPS/Radar, I would like to develop new strategies to create specific techniques to become more efficient in the ways to catch lobster, which will help environmentally in terms of fuel and bait usage.”
Frank said that while currently working in a small family business, that continually reinvests into the industry, their aim is to expand from currently a one-boat licence, to a two-boat operation.
“If we continue in the same direction with a strong emphasis on keeping our costs low and maximising our quota, I believe that this goal is achievable in the short term,” he said.
“In two years’ time I would hope to have acquired MC4, MED1 and a Diploma in IT to further the business model that will enable our expansion to be effective in order to grow in this industry.
“We should always be educating ourselves to evolve and be a willing participant in the industry to provide and learn new and effective ways on being more efficient, cost effective, sustainable and safe.”
Frank said he looks forward to attending the 2019 Trans-Tasman Rock Lobster Congress and networking with other fishermen, from the western rock lobster industry, other parts of Australia and abroad.
“I look forward to discussions about different techniques of fishing, diverse theories on how to be cost effective with bait management, maintenance standards and practices,” he said.
“My view on any study group or discussion with industry is that no matter how experienced you are at your business, everyone can learn.
“Working in a small business can at times be isolated, the Trans-Tasman Congress offers the opportunity of outside influences and to be able to discuss different points of view, concepts and opinions that could help my future professional and business development.”
We look forward to working with Frank 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 $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. The bursaries have been funded by Western Rock Lobster through its Industry Partnership Agreement with the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC).