Danny Fisher has been making a livelihood from the ocean since he was an Invercargill school boy.
In the holidays he would find work in Bluff as a deckhand and by the age of 15 he had left school and was working on a fishing boat plying the Foveaux Strait.
Both his father and brother were fishermen so it’s no surprise to Danny that the sea and fishing called to him so strongly.
“I love being at sea – it’s the freedom that comes from being out there. And now I have my own boat it gives me the freedom to be able to go where I want and do what I want to do – on my own terms.”
With the help of an investor in 2006, Danny was able to buy the Santa Rosa a 43 foot steel hulled fishing boat, one of the last built by Bluff Engineering, that has been navigating the southern waters for the past 40 years and more.
Danny’s main income comes from kōura (lobster), which is caught with quota purchased from Ngāi Tahu Seafood and then exported live to China. In between times he also catches blue cod to supply the domestic market. His main fishing ground is off the southern west tip of the South Island, because it’s relatively close to home and his wife Wynetta and daughters Jessica (16) and Giahanna (14).
Danny is one of 10 Ngāi Tahu fishers who form Ngāi Tahu Seafood’s Murihiku Development Pool established in 2008. The pool was set up to create an opportunity for Ngāi Tahu fishers to build their own fishing companies and to help ensure the long-term future of the local kōura industry.
“It’s (the quota) what keeps me afloat. If it wasn’t for the development pool I would probably still be working as a deckhand. It helped get me started on my own boat, I’m grateful for that and I want to give something back.”