Geraldton Fishermen's Co-operative Rock Lobster Exporters


Previously Featured Fishermen

Stephen “Butch” Maddren

  • From Geraldton
  • Fishing for GFC for over 30 Years
  • Skippers Jay Nicole Lee

Butch as he is commonly known around the traps has been with the Co-op now for over 30 years and has been amongst one of our most loyal fisherman and is always there to lend a helping hand.

Butch left school and went to Leeman with a friend whose father was a fisherman Kym Wann. He did one season as a deckhand before going and doing an apprenticeship in Mechanical Fitting then returning and working again as a deckhand for 13 years.  He first week’s pay was $37.00, a far call from what deckhands receive today.

After many years of trying to get a break with the Banks they finally changed there’re policy and recognised the collateral in a fishing license and Butch was able to get a loan to buy pots & first boat which he still has the “Jay Nicole Lee”. Butch is a A zone fisherman and has camps on East Wallabi, Abrolhos Islands and is based out of Geraldton.

One of the funniest things Butch recalls was one of their pots was snagged on the reef and the deckhand said “No worries I’ll jump over board and free it”.  As soon as the deckhand dived overboard we saw a shark circling.  We all screamed at him that there was a shark, he swam to the back of the boat and became like god and literally walked on water and launched himself into the back of the boat. Funniest sight ever!  When we asked Butch what would be your dream job, he simply replied I’m living it and doing it every day and wouldn’t trade places for anything.

The one character Butch would like to make mention is Dennis Ralph because of his sense of humour and approach to life in general.

Butch and his lovley wife Catherine participated in the most recent China Tours and commented that “you just don’t get a proper understanding of what goes on once the crays leave the ocean until you see what GFC is going in China… its amazing” Butch also went on to say what a great team we have here at GFC always willing to help, we are like one big family here at the Co-op.

Bart Guarino

  • From Fremantle
  • Fishing with GFC for 12 years
  • Skippers Tindari IV

Bart is one of GFC’s loyal C zone fishermen and has sharefished with director Basil Lenzo since 1997. Bart has now been with the Co-op for 11 years and skippers the boat Tindari IV along with his father Tony and brother Max.  Bart is a second generation fisherman, starting out as a deckhand for his father and uncle when he was 18.

When we asked Bart about some of his more unusual experiences as a fisherman he told us that he once managed to catch a shark on a grapple hook using a coke can for bait. Another time he pulled up a slat pot after a huge swell and found no lobsters, just a golf ball. Bart looks forward to his retirement, taking the time to relax and enjoy his leisure time. At least we know that if he takes up golfing, he already has some of the gear!

Reflecting on his years in the Western Rock Lobster fishery, Bart fondly remembers his old friend Nic Derosa, who passed away 10 years ago.  Bart said, “He would always push the boundaries, spoke his mind and had the gift of the gab. He once sold a ‘special timber’ that he claimed would attract lobster. Quite a few fishermen took the bait! Nic was a true character and a loyal friend.”

Peter Armstrong

  • From Geraldton
  • Fishing with GFC for 23 years
  • Skippers Silhouette

A-zone fisherman, Peter Armstrong, has fished from his base at Basile Island in the Southern Group of the Abrolhos for 23 years.

Originally hailing from Northampton, Peter was born into a family of merino lamb and wheat farmers. Peter is a first generation fisherman and has been a loyal Co-op supplier from the very beginning.

These days Peter is based in Geraldton, where he lives with his wife Karen. They have a son and daughter, Tom and Tessa.

Peter spends a quarter of the year fishing, around 100 days. He heads out on his boat, Silhouette, and usually does a three or four day stint on the island at a time, all throughout the year.

Peter looks forward to the future of the Armstrong fishery, if not in crayfishing then perhaps in aquaculture. He has an aquaculture licence to cultivate octopus and there is a hatchery on his jetty. Peter hopes that his son, Tom, might join the family business in the future.

Terry Parish

  • From Dongara
  • Fishing with GFC for 12 years
  • Owner Que Sera

Terry has been fishing since he was eight years old, when he would set pots on the reef at the mouth of Dongara’s Irwin River with his father. A veteran of the industry Terry began fishing for GFC in 2005 and, along with his family, has been a proud GFC shareholder for the past 12 years. Terry’s son Luke is now a key part of the family business.

Terry has always been very passionate about his industry and has been involved with several different bodies that have contributed to the ongoing success of the Western Rock Lobster fishery. Terry has been a member of the Dongara Professional Fishermen’s Association since 1984 and was their Vice President for seven years. Terry was also on the board of directors of the Western Rock Lobster Council from 2007 to 2013 and was involved in the restoration of Dongara’s Old Customs Building, which is now the Fishermen’s Hall.

Terry has been in the fishing industry now for 39 years. He is now semi-retired but still enjoys some part time work within the oil & gas industry. Most of all Terry enjoys spoiling his two granddaughters when he is at home.

Darren McTaggart

  • From Leeman
  • Fishing with GFC for 15 years
  • Skippers Beverly Dawn III

After 30 years in the industry, B-Zone fisherman Darren McTaggart is still going strong.

Darren began supplying the Co-op 15 years ago and has been a loyal GFC member ever since.

Darren is a third generation fisherman. His grandfather and great uncle fished for snapper at Cockburn Sound after moving to Western Australia from Geelong. Darren’s father, Brian McTaggart, was also a Western Rock Lobster fisherman.

Based in Leeman, Darren skippers his 18 metre (60 foot) boat, the Beverly Dawn III, which he bought in 1992. Darren fishes with two deckhands, one of whom is his son, Lenny, who is being groomed to inherit the family business. Darren’s other son, Hayden, recently relocated to Kalbarri to start up his own small business fishing for fish, rather than lobster.

Darren is an avid traveller, he and Lenny participated in GFC’s first China Tour last year. When it comes time to pass the business on to one, or both, of his sons  Darren looks forward to taking the opportunity to travel the world with wife Diane.