By Margaret Maccoll
It was a very emotional Errol “Jimmy” Lindsay who last Sunday morning launched a replacement fishing boat seven weeks after his was burnt to the water line alongside that of the only other Boreen Point commercial fisherman John Clarke.
“It’s a proud moment. I didn’t think I’d do it. I needed for myself to get something done,” Jimmy said as his son Lawrence took the 7m trawler for its first run while friends and family gathered to watch.
It’s been a horrendous time for Jimmy who over the past four weeks has built his new boat, struggled with serious illness and been devastated by the death of his daughter-in-law, 47, who passed away after contracting an infection in her arm.
And replacing the boat at a cost of about $25,000 plus a second hand motor just about cleaned out his savings. With the cost of insuring a commercial fishing boat about $6000 a year both Jimmy and John considered the expense too much and never expected they’d be the target of arson.
Jimmy thanked those who had helped him including two fibreglass companies who provided free service and those who had contributed to a gofundme page.
“It’s a lot more boat than you think. It’s salted inside. It has a self-draining back. It’s not pretty, it’s a fishing boat.”
Jimmy has been a commercial fisherman in the Noosa lakes for the past 50 years. Now to make a living he works two to three nights a week and takes a discerning catch using a 4″ net of bream, flathead and pony fish.
John Clarke has fished the lakes for more than 50 years and now works one night a week to catch mullet which he sells to the local community. John used to use two boats to fish but since the fire, only uses one and will not replace the one lost.
Both fishermen fear they may be targeted again.
John said when the police knocked on his door at 2 in the morning the night of the fire on 22 June he “couldn’t believe” what had happened.
“It was a horrible sight,” he said. Both men had previously had minor damage done to their boats and motors, nets stolen and fuel lines cut. John said a week before the fire someone had removed the bung to sink his boat but luckily it was in shallow water.
“To have a total wipe out is a different story,” John said.
When the fire was set other boats which had been tied up alongside the fishing boats had been moved clear and were undamaged.
“I think it’s someone who hates fishermen,” John said.
Police are continuing investigations into the arson. Anyone with information should contact Noosa Police on 5440 8111 or Policelink on 131 444.