Affordable Seafood, Esmay & Emil Hropic

Esmay and Emil Hropic have been recognised by Oceanwatch Australia as “Master Fishermen”, and after spending a few hours with them it is easy to understand why. The business of commercial fishing is today a highly regulated one, and the entire NSW industry is in the midst of a major re-structure.

However, when you are a seventh generation fishing family, the tradition is strong. Esmay and Emil have downsized their fishing operation in this uncertain period and are feeling as if they have made the right decision.

They now fish from two trailer boats, a 4 metre fibreglass prawn boat and a 6 metre aluminium general purpose boat. The morning we visit, Emil has just returned empty handed from a 350km round trip to Pambula, where he was “reliably” informed the prawns were running. He is philosophical – “that’s fishing,” he says.

They are primarily an estuary based fishing enterprise, and now use a technique called “splashing” to catch most of their fish. This involves the use of a net with fairly large panels (holes) of around 100mm. This allows juvenile and undersize fish to pass through the net. The net (around 400 metres long) is payed out from the stern of the boat supported by floats.

After about 15 minutes or so, it is hauled back to the boat where any undersized or unwanted fish are released unharmed. This short timeframe saves any fish from “drowning”, as used to happen with the old method of leaving the net out for hours.

The catch is then transferred into ice slurry that quickly chills the fish. The condition of the fish that we see being cleaned speaks volumes.

Emil and Esmay are passionate about the need for sustainable fisheries, and argue that, as seventh generation fishers, they know something about how this should be done.

Markets are a vital part of the family business. They follow a fish-sell cycle three times a week to supply three markets: the SAGE Farmers Market, the Thursday Ulladulla market and the Saturday Moruya market. This ensures that the fish is always extremely fresh. They also sell on demand from their home-based business on Beach Road at Batemans Bay (next to the shell museum).

Produce Sold

Fish (when available)
Bream
Flake (Shovelnose Shark)
Flathead
Latchet
Leather Jacket
Luderick
Mullet
Mulloway
Salmon
Trevally
Whiting
Crustaceans (when available)
Blue Swimmer Crab
Mud Crab
Prawns
 

Fish (when available)
Bream
Flake (Shovelnose Shark)
Flathead
Latchet
Leather Jacket
Luderick
Mullet
Mulloway
Salmon
Trevally
Whiting
Crustaceans (when available)
Blue Swimmer Crab
Mud Crab
Prawns
 

Fish (when available)
Bream
Flake (Shovelnose Shark)
Flathead
Latchet
Leather Jacket
Luderick
Mullet
Mulloway
Salmon
Trevally
Whiting
Crustaceans (when available)
Blue Swimmer Crab
Mud Crab
Prawns
 

Fish (when available)
Bream
Flake (Shovelnose Shark)
Flathead
Latchet
Leather Jacket
Luderick
Mullet
Mulloway
Salmon
Trevally
Whiting
Crustaceans (when available)
Blue Swimmer Crab
Mud Crab
Prawns