Story & photo Melissa Butter
Like a school of fish this hard working family unit sticks together. Each week JJ Seafood delivers the finest, freshest produce from the region straight from their boats to the markets.
With the help of a handful of employees, John and Julie Joblin juggle raising four small fry with managing seven boats working out of Ballina. While one daughter is at the markets with mum, another daughter is down at the beach working with her uncle. ‘It doesn’t stop! says Julie. ‘This afternoon when she gets home she’ll go with her dad and check her crab trap pots.’
They have systems in place and keep their phones close by so they can respond quickly to any alerts or updates from out at sea.
Their industry isn’t just physically demanding, they’re also challenged by the changing tides, the weather and, as always with fishing – a bit of luck. ‘With fishing you’ve just gotta have your hand in all the industries, because sometimes there’s nothing there. Fish are like fruit and veggies; it’s all seasonal.’
Their main industry is spanner crabs. ‘We’re the second biggest holder in NSW, but at the moment they’re on closure – it’s their mating season,’ says Julie. ‘Right now it’s snapper and mahi-mahi season and they’re also catching school prawns.’
Every boat is used for a different industry to catch a different line of fish. And while their boats are busy out at sea, John and Julie are busy in the kitchen too. ‘Last night the kids had whiting, John had pork chops, and I had curried prawns.’ Julie laughs, ‘It’s all good!’
With so much going on it’s hard to believe they can still find time to all be in the same room. ‘We spend every afternoon together – while we’re filleting.’
It never stops for the Joblins, they even work Christmas Day. But it’s what they know, and they love it. ‘It’s just family, you know, we all stick together.’