Highway One: Crayfishing at Southend, South Australia

By Catherine Lawson 7 November 2013
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Catherine and David head to Southend, in South Australia for some crayfishing.

Catherine Lawson and David Bristow, along with baby Maya, are doing a lap of Highway One, the road that circles Australia. 

IT’S JUST CRAYFISH, for goodness sake,” says Sharon Agiomamitis, a buyer for Five Star Seafoods, a Port MacDonnell-based exporter of live crays to China.

But at nearby Beachport, where Sharon haggles for crays off 20 fishing boats, crayfish is big business and the competition for catches is cut throat.

“It’s dog-eat-dog; it’s not a nice job,” she says. “It totally stresses me out!”

The crays she’s talking about are southern rock lobsters, which sell for around $90 a piece in Adelaide and are a favoured Chinese splurge.

Away from the stress at Beachport’s busy commercial pier, we watch father and son team Bob and James Butterworth setting their cray pots from land and retrieving them 24 hours later by treading carefully out over the rock shelf at low tide and snaring them with a grappling hook.

Despite the obvious dangers of breaking waves, Bob and James’ fishing session proves to be a far more leisurely affair that delivers three good-sized crays, one of which we devour just hours out of the sea, gently sautéed in garlic and butter.

Some crayfishermen with their catch.(Credit: David Bristow)

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