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  • Writer's pictureAndy and Renae Tobin

Tobin Fish Tales: Our Spanish mackerel tale

Updated: Apr 5

We proudly use Spanish mackerel as our 'house fish' for fish and chips at Tobin Fish Tales. Spanish mackerel has been the hero for fish and chip shops throughout Queensland since the 1940s! In recent years, the sustainability of the East Coast Qld fishery has been questioned, and the commercial catch quotas and recreational bag limits reduced to allow the fishery time to recover. Most fish and chip shops are selling grey 'mackerel' rather than the more premium Spanish mackerel. Grey mackerel is more readily available, and cheaper, though is not as sweet in taste.  

At Tobin Fish Tales, we pride ourselves on quality. We prefer the sweeter taste, firmer texture and pearl white appearance of Spanish mackerel. We don’t mind paying more for a premium product, and that is why Spanish mackerel is our hero fish.

We source most of our Spanish mackerel from the Torres Strait fisheries. We buy directly from commercial fisher Egon, who fishes from his Fishing Vessel, the New Traveller. Torres Strait waters produce incredible catches of Spanish mackerel!

The Torres Strait fishery is tightly managed by the Torres Strait Regional Authority and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority.  Fishery access and catch is carefully controlled. Non-indigenous fishers like Egon pay a lease fee for a fishing licence to fish Torres Strait waters and catch quota for Spanish mackerel. The process generates income for the Torres Strait, and helps to ensure sustainable fishing now and into future years.

Egon is lucky to be one of a few commercial fishers accessing the Torres Strait fishery. The commercial fishing history is strong in Egons family as both his father and grandfather have fished Spanish mackerel in Torres Strait.  

This video shows the path that our Spanish mackerel take, from capture, to filleting and snap freezing on board, to arrival in Townsville, to being sliced instore, cooked, and finally being served to you, our customer, as take away fish and chips.

We take great pride in being able to tell the full tale of this delicious fish!


PS. You might notice Andy doing some fishing - he was fortunate to be able to fish with Egon while he was doing scientific research on the fishery some years ago.

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