Fishing & Traditions
in Norfolk Island
‘Yu bin fishen laetley?‘ translates to: ‘Have you been fishing lately?’ NB: There are many different spellings used in our Norfolk language ~ this version is by Beryl Nobbs Palmer.
In the ocean surrounds of Norfolk Island, our sealife is plentiful. An assortment of fish are caught both from the rocks and from boats; nanwee, trumpeter, ophey, groper, kingfish, stiddy, tough cord, parrot fish, artooti, tweed trousers, yaholley and more…
Traditional fishing rods were made from a piece of bamboo, cut to your individual size… The cutting of the rods grew in length as you grew in age and height!
It is common practice to only take what you need when fishing ~ to share with the elders who are unable to fish from the rocky foreshores anymore. The sighs of wonder and delight when you home deliver to them, a freshly caught ophey or kingfish, is worth the fishing trip in itself.
Freshly caught local fish for dinner is an absolute delight for both residents and visitors to the island.
All fish are caught by line; they are not caught in nets. In this way, the local fishing industry is kept sustainable.
Fishing can only take place when the seas are suitable (about two-thirds of the days in a year). Visitors can book a place on one of the fishing vessels and go out to help with the catch. It is a very popular activity for locals and our visitors when the weather is suitable.
The local fishing industry is supported by the Norfolk Island Fishing Association, with objectives of:
• To promote and protect fish, fishing grounds and marine life surrounding Norfolk Island for local commercial and recreational fishing,
• Promotion of safety at sea,
• Promoting the sport of fishing on Norfolk Island.