The March/April 2017 edition of Professional Skipper Magazine features an article about a new cray boat which makes for a great read.
The article is titled “Cray Fishing – A Family Affair”.
Just as 2016 was drawing to a close, Tony Gough and his southern boatbuilding yard, Gough Bros, launched their latest new build Boadicea destined for the southern cray fishing fleet in Fiordland – built for Garth Haggerty from Riverton.
The Haggerty family now boasts their fourth-generation fisherman at sea with Garth’s son Jason joining the business. The foundation members of Haggerty fishing ventures started years earlier with grandfather Vic fishing in small craft out of Invercargill. Sadly, Vic Haggerty and one of his sons were lost on Bluff harbour in the currents off Omaui in 1939 while floundering out of a small dory.
Garth’s father Ron was the next family member to take up fishing and with his brother Bob converted the yacht Southern Light into a fishing boat, mainly to supplement the family’s
income. Because of the seasonal nature of the fishing, it fitted in well with the killing season of the Makarewa freezing works at Bluff. The lifestyle was good and relaxed with Riverton being a closeknit safe community to bring up a family.
Garth joined his father fishing in 1981 (after serving his penance as a land-based stock and station agent with Dalgety’s) and he was able to buy a share into his father’s current boat the Southerner. While his Dad got a small parcel of Quota, it was not until the CRA8 fishery crashed and many chose to exit that Garth (who was committed to the long haul) brought as much Quota as could afford. He took over the boat as his dad was looking to slow down. In doing so, maintained the family business and tradition. The next boat was the Equinox, and it was about this time Garth brought out Dad.
As the fishery recovered, the committed fishermen remaining (who had taken some serious cuts in an effort to rebuild the fishery) changed fishing patterns to meet the market demand and to command the best prices. Larger, faster, live-aboard boats were required for this new approach and their next boat would be the Contessa C which they purchased from Tasmania in 2005. Recently, with son Jason now showing a serious interest in fishing, and wanting a piece of the action, it was time to upgrade so they could stay on top of their game.
Garth had seen and worked alongside many of the Gough boats. He admired their sea-keeping abilities, fishing functionality and crew comfort, and after seeing the latest boats emerge from the Gough Bros shed, he was sold. Garth said watching Jerry Excell’s boat Extender (which was the cover feature in Workboats Review 2017) being built was a huge benefit. Garth said he learnt ‘heaps’ and adopted many of Jerry’s ideas.