Wednesday, May 31, 2023

WA’s best deckhand works out of Two Rocks marina

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Deckhand Thomas Breeze has worked on an octopus fishing boat operating out of the Two Rocks marina for about nine months now.

Thomas Breeze
Deckhand Thomas Breeze on the octopus fishing boat Ramblin Rose II, which operates out of Two Rocks. Photo: Anita McInnes

It is physically demanding work because even though the pots used to catch octopus are smaller than the ones used to catch western rock lobster they still weigh 30kg each.

Mr Breeze of Yanchep said on work days they do not head out on Ramblin Rose II as early as the rock lobster fishers because of way octopuses react to light.

“We leave about sunrise as at night time the octopuses hunt for food and then when it’s bright they seek shelter,’’ he said.

“We usually head back to the marina about 3pm to 4pm.

“The hardest part would be carrying the pots as we pull 300 to 450 pots a day so at the end of that you’re pretty tired.’’

On the weekend Mr Breeze was named the best deckhand at the 2021 Seafood Industry awards, which were held in Fremantle and hosted by the WA Fishing Industry Council.

Mr Breeze was nominated by his boss Philip Thompson for his high work ethic and dedication to the job as well as continuing his own education while using his great leadership skills to educate others.

Originally from Kalgoorlie-Boulder and a bricklayer by trade, Mr Breeze was shocked when he and his partner Gemma Thompson were at the award night and his name was read out.

When he collected his trophy, he was nervous and a bit lost for words.

“It took a while to sink in but now I feel a sense of pride.’’

Mr Thompson’s family moved to Two Rocks in 1992 and when he finished Year 12 he worked in the rock lobster fishing industry.

Four years ago he started a family-run independent company to join the octopus fishing industry.

On the Rambling Rose II they use shelter pots instead of trigger traps to catch octopus.

His partner Isabel Waskiewicz no longer works as a chef but does the processing for the business, which has 1500 pots and sells its catch to outlets in Fremantle.

The WA seafood industry generates a billion dollars annually and employs about 10,000 people in direct and indirect jobs connected to commercial fishing and aquaculture activity.

Fisheries Minister Don Punch said fishing and aquaculture businesses in WA worked hard through the economic impacts of Covid-19 and the awards celebrated the continued professionalism, commitment and ingenuity of the seafood industry through challenging times.

This article appeared on Yanchep News Online, 20 August 2021.


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