History of Fishing:
Fishing has been an integral part of the Kangaroo Island economy
since 1803. The sealers came here to reap the seal rich coasts
and the whalers to plunder the rich ocean to the south of the
Matthew Flinders RN noted the number of seabirds here and the
rich source of sea foods. French navigator Nicolas Baudin also
noted that the fish were plentiful in the bays and coves of the
eastern end of the island. He even caught a large shark and described
"But of all the Ìle Decrès fish, the most amazing is a species
of Shark attaining a length of 50 to 60 decimetres (15 to 20
feet) and which is very common in Bougainville Bay. Night and
day we could see several of these monstrous creatures prowling
around the ship in search of food and numbing with terror all
so many and so large sharks to be in the area now known as Nepean
Bay fish sources, including seals must have been plentiful.
Fish are still here, sadly seals have been hunted out of the Nepean
Bay area and sharks have moved to deeper waters to get food. By
virtue of its location centrally on the South Australian coast
and its extensive and diverse coastline Kangaroo Island has a
prolific number of fish species in various habitats. Many local
fishermen still catch numerous fish from small boats and jetties
around the Island.
Fishing on Kangaroo Island:
Freshwater fishing in inland waterways, is not overly popular.
There are 3 species of trout and 1 species of lamprey (eel)
that can be caught in rivers and estuaries around the Island.
Sub tidal or rock fishing on offshore reefs. There are a variety
of fish to be caught including, Magpie perch, Spiny leatherjacket,
Black-banded Sea Perch, Roughy, Red Mullet, Blue groper, weedy
Intertidal - over sand patches in bays and estuaries. The more
commonly known fish in these areas are the King George Sound
whiting, Tommy Ruff, Snook, Snapper and Red Mullet.
Open water, deep sea fishing. This occurs off all Island coasts
by charter, and the fish caught are mainly Blue Fin Tuna, Snapper,
Sea Perch, and Shark.
There are numerous other fish with a variety of crabs, the rock
lobster (crayfish), seahorses and fish not suited to eating.
The Cray-fishing industry started in American River. The fishing
trawler the 'Stella' used pots like those in the United Kingdom
and set them baited to catch the lobsters from the ledges of the
reefs that surround the Island. Numerous trawlers still fish for
"Cray's" around the Island in season.
Charters operate from a variety of locations.