Lake Macquarie History

Fishing in Lake Macquarie

As one of Australia's largest salt water lakes with a shoreline circumference of 174 km, it is natural that there is a long history of recreational and commercial fishing in Lake Macquarie

Archaeological middens discovered around Lake Macquarie indicate the plethora of seafood enjoyed by our first people, the Awabakal Nation. Commercial fishing industry expanded in the 1860’s with Marshall's Fishery and Curing Factory at Brightwaters producing tinned fish for the Sydney market. Chinese fishermen, returning from the NSW goldfields in the 1860’s operated their own fishing concerns at Pelican Flats. Without ice, spoilage was common on long haul trips. Rather than spoil their catch transporting to Sydney, locals preferred to fish for the Chinese curers who exported to the Sydney and Chinese markets.

Technology changed the demand for tinned & cured fish. Thermal insulation, manufactured ice & rail transport meant fresh fish could be delivered to markets in Sydney & Melbourne. Fishing dynasties thrived passing down the commercial trade to the consecutive generations.

The introduction of marine engines and power winches eventually contributed to the overfishing of the lake, the decline of fish stock led to a ban on commercial fishing in 1980.