Local jobs created through sustainable fisherman’s modern upgrades

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A small family-owned Kurrimine Beach business has doubled the supply of their fresh reef fish and bait to some of Australia’s finest restaurants and popular tackle stores after employing extra crew.

Chris Bolton

Chris Bolton Fishing is feeding the growing appetite for their premium quality coral trout and bait with the purchase of bigger and better equipment funded by a Sustainability Loan from the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA). 

Sparking interest in their produce from chefs and fishers across the country, Chris said their wild-catch fishing business could not keep up with demand.

“With our smaller vessel and fewer dinghies, we didn’t have the capacity to reach our full fishing quota, so we decided to take the plunge and purchase another three dinghies and a new 14 metre vessel,” Chris said.

“Our new boat is built for speed, and it allows us to more easily navigate and return home quicker, ensuring the produce is as fresh as possible.

“The boat also has electronic anchors which uses GPS coordinates to keep it in the right place, meaning we don’t have to throw an anchor onto the reef, which could cause considerable damage.

“Having another three dinghies allows us to reach shallow waters and we can supply twice as many fish within our total yearly quota as we were previously, which is such a game-changer.”

The upgrades were not only a win for the commercial fishing business, but also for the local economy.

“We’ve employed four extra fishermen, and we’re teaching them new skills and knowledge which is all about sustainability and sourcing premium quality produce,” he said. 

“The vessel also has really good living quarters for the whole crew so they’re comfortable when out at sea.”

Chris said the process of applying for a Sustainability Loan from QRIDA was straightforward and QRIDA’s Far North Regional Area Manager Sam Spina answered all his questions with local knowledge and agribusiness expertise.

“Dealing with Sam was a pleasure because of his farming background,” he said.

“Sam knows how primary industries work, he knows everyone’s business is different, and he carefully looks at what our business does and how we do it.”

QRIDA Far North Regional Area Manager Sam Spina said Chris Bolton Fishing was a great example of an economically and environmentally sustainable wild-catch fishing business.

“QRIDA’s Sustainability Loan allowed Chris and his team to increase productivity, while introducing new technology, particularly with the electronic anchors,” he said.

“The Bolton family is helping put the Innisfail region on the map as a viable place for commercial fishing.”

Setting sail for the future, Chris hopes seafood lovers around the world will one day also enjoy his reef fish.

“I’d love to get our own export business happening so we can expand our markets even further,” he said.

“I also want to look into running more solar power on the boat, and further develop the marketing of our business.” 

QRIDA’s Sustainability Loans of up to $1.3 million can help primary production and wild-catch fishing businesses improve their productivity and long-term profitability.

To find out how a Sustainability Loan could help develop your primary production business, visit QRIDA’s Sustainability Loan page.


Client story

Last updated: 17 April 2023