After an extended period in which Australian builders of fishing boats experienced a downturn in orders for the high-speed rock lobster fishing boats which have formed the backbone of their orderbooks in recent years, the pendulum seems to have swung back in their favour with an increase in domestic demand for both boats in fibreglass, aluminium and steel. Export success, however, continues to elude these builders, many of which seem totally uninterested in markets beyond their shores.
The June issue of "Fishing Boat World" magazine reports that the greatest upsurge in construction has been for Western Australia's rock lobster fishery. At the same time, yards in several Australian states continue to deliver steel trawlers; steel, aluminium and fibreglass tuna longliners, and a variety of other craft in smaller numbers.A two page article by Bill Beecham ("Lobster boats and longliners boost builder's sales") provides an overview of fishing boat construction in Australia over the last 12 months, with descriptions of notable deliveries in the lobster boat, longliner and trawler fields. These outlines demonstrate that Australian designers and builders are more than equal to their contemporaries anywhere in the world.
In particular, Australia is known for its aluminium ship and boat building industry and the same issue of "Fishing Boat World" also contains a number of stories concerning the use of aluminium vessels in the international fishing industry. This includes descriptions of vessels built by Alnmarin International of the United Kingdom, the US-based Eastern Shipbuilding Group's recent research catamaran delivery 'F G Walton Smith', the 12.95 metre Solnes 43 net fishing boat 'Havbris' built in Norway and the Alucraft (Australia) 52 lobster boat 'Belvedere'.Although Australia's boat builders are not active in the export of fishing boats, at least one builder is making an impact internationally. This is Sea Chrome, formerly a Fremantle-based builder of commercial and pleasure craft in fibreglass and now involved in a venture in the African state of Eritrea. Together with the Eritrean Government and a Rawandan partner, Sea Chrome is helping to rebuild the local fishery by building a range of small craft including longliners and trawlers. An interesting article on this equally interesting venture also describes how the local population is being trained in all facets of fibreglass boatbuilding and a range of fisheries techniques and equipment.
Full article: Fishing Boat World – June issue, Baird Publications