Bowen’s newest boat on the cutting-edge of technology
A BRAND new boat filled with cutting-edge technology is set to allow one Bowen fisherman to venture beyond the Great Barrier Reef to fish further, quicker and more efficiently than ever before.
Arabon Seafoods owner and operator Terry Must has recently taken acquisition of a freshly-built boat, which will allow him to regularly fish beyond the Great Barrier Reef.
Built in Brisbane's The Yard facility, it was the first fishing trawler the shipbuilder had ever built and perfectly encompassed Mr Must's "vision" for a new-age vessel.
The 45ft boat is more fuel efficient than traditional trawlers, consuming almost half as much diesel as others in his fleet, however, the most unique aspect of the boat is its technology.
The boat contains 3D mapping sonars to help Mr Must find the perfect location to trawl for the lucrative ruby snapper beyond the Great Barrier Reef.
"These fish are very much a restaurant fish and at the moment it's quite difficult to know where to go for them," Mr Must said.
"This boat is quicker than others so it'll get out to those locations easier, but once we're out there we can map the sea floor and understand where the fish are.
"Every fish lives in its own depth level and these fish live in the underwater mountains beyond the reef at about 400 to 500 metres below sea level, so this technology will let us map out those areas and find the fish very precisely.
"We're mapping over a kilometre wide when this sonar technology is on, so we know everything below and around us."
Mr Must said he was inspired to learn and integrate the technology from another fisherman in the Whitsundays and had since learnt of fishermen in Innisfail who were fishing beyond the reef with great success using the same technology.
He said coronavirus had anecdotally made the domestic market more successful, so there was no concern about taking acquisition of a new boat in the current climate.
"There's probably a few months of fitting out this boat with winches, an annex and trawling equipment and then they say it takes around 12 months to properly learn the technology, so it's not the worst time to be learning," he said.
"There's still not much (fish) going overseas but there's a demand in the domestic market," he said.
"Our retail store has been busier than ever so I view this boat as an investment for the future. We can sell in our store and whatever excess we have can be sold to wholesalers.
"We still have Brisbane calling us for fish twice a week and just this morning Townsville called me. It will only continue when there's more options to get our product overseas again."
Ironically, Mr Must said the vessel's shipyard mate also ended up in the Whitsundays.
"Hamilton Island coincidentally had a ferry built in the dock next to this boat and both were launched at the same time," he said.
"They're built for fuel efficiency, we'll just be using them for two very different purposes."