Fisherman’s Co-op William Silverman and his team addressed the Brunswick Heads Chamber of Commerce on the evening of Tuesday July 18, putting forward their ‘vision’ for the future of the site.
Silverman said that he ‘wanted to be part of the community’, stating that he wanted to bring Brunswick back to being a fishing town with a coordinated marina with seafood.
To achieve his vision Silverman said he would need a minimum of 200 tonne a year of seafood to be brought in through the Brunswick port to make a profit. Before the recent closure they handled 30 tonne a year through the shop.
‘Brunswick Heads has the finest seafood – it is becoming a delicacy,’ said Silverman.
‘Trawlers are not the way fisheries work any more.’
Silverman sees the future of fishing as being in ‘artisan’ or ‘recreational’ fisher folk who would bring in the minimum 200 tonne a year he says he needs to make the operation viable. He said they would be bringing in the likes of snapper and spanner crab.
‘In five years the price will have doubled,’ he said. ‘We would like a working port.’
According to the figures Silverman presented, northern NSW has a $6.3m fishing industry and he would like to see ten per cent of that coming through the Brunswick fish co-op.
Currently the one trawler that braves the dangerous Brunswick bar brings in between five and ten tonnes a year and a local fisherman told The Echo that it is not only the bar but the rocks and wreckage that make this such a dangerous crossing.
‘We want the government to do the infrastructure. Crown Lands should repair everything,’ said Silverman as he expanded on his ideas for the site to The Echo.
As part of this he sees the repair of the old slipway that was condemned ten to fifteen years ago coupled with the installation of a crane.
‘The government needs to sort out the parking,’ he continued.
50 to 60 car parks
‘They need to supply 50 to 60 car parks for cars with trailers for boats’ for the recreational fisher folk who will be bringing in the seafood to be processed through the Brunswick co-op.
The Brunswick fish co-op, which Silverman bought 16 months ago, was recently closed, with staff being given two weeks’ notice in lieu.
‘We are taking the asbestos, etc out and taking it back to its bare bones to then see what we can put in there – vegetables, coffee – while we work out as a community what happens there. Please let us know what you want,’ Silverman wrapped up in his address to the Chamber.
The Echo contacted the NSW Department of Primary Industries for comment on some of the ideas put forward by Silverman but they were unable to respond by our deadline.