Home NewsAustralia A ‘big year’ for yabbies as Riverland farmers spread Christmas cheer ahead of flood peak

A ‘big year’ for yabbies as Riverland farmers spread Christmas cheer ahead of flood peak

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Summer time in South Australia’s Riverland is synonymous with catching yabbies, however this yr business fisherman Garry Warrick might have the waterways to himself.

With River Murray flows into South Australia anticipated to peak simply after Christmas, the state government announced a ban on all recreational water activity between the New South Wales-Victoria border and Wellington.

After some preliminary fear, Mr Warrick was happy to be taught companies that relied on the river have been exempt from the ban.

“I am very joyful that I get to function,” he stated.

“It is the busiest time of yr with lots of people with orders in for his or her yabbies for Christmas.”

Mr Warrick, who has been concerned with fishing for greater than 30 years, is considered one of simply six business licence holders in a position to take yabbies.

He stated cooler water flowing down from the Darling River had led to a gradual begin to the season.

“In the meanwhile it is up and down a bit with the cooler climate — so we’re in all probability getting 40 to 50 kilograms a day,” Mr Warrick stated.

Garry Warrick fishing yabbies in SA's Riverland
Mr Warrick is considered one of simply six business licence holders in a position to take yabbies.(ABC Rural: Tom Nancarrow )

“That is in all probability lots lower than regular, however because the climate warms up it ought to get higher.”

Whereas floodwaters brought on a lot devastation and many modifications this yr, Mr Warrick stated his preparations for the season remained the identical and the yabbies have been suitable for eating.

“The place they’re coming from, it is good clear yabbies in the intervening time,” he stated.

“There is no blackwater round but — may very well be in a while — [you’ve] simply gotta make sure that they’re cooked in good salt water and cooled down in ice slurry saltwater.”

Mr Warrick stated he anticipated yabby numbers to extend as soon as the flood waters receded, with the state authorities’s projections exhibiting flows may drop beneath 150 gigalitres by mid-January. 

“It will likely be an enormous yr — 2016 was the final cheap yabby yr we had.”

“I did not fish for yabbies for about ten years through the millennium drought, however the final [decade] we have had first rate yabby seasons.”

A man holds a yabby in his hands with it's pincers outstretched.
Mr Warrick says he expects yabby numbers to blow up when the flows lower. (ABC Rural: Eliza Berlage)

Spirit of Christmas

On their farm at Wonuarra simply off the Sturt Freeway, Ed and Margaret Simpfendorfer have been promoting Christmas bushes to Riverland residents.

Regardless of the area’s give attention to flood preparations, they stated there was no scarcity of shoppers.

Ed and Margaret Simpfendorfer wearing red shirts and red santa hats stand next to an aleppo pine.
Ed and Margaret Simpfendorfer are the one Christmas tree farmers within the Riverland

“It looks like the identical as final yr, individuals are preparing for Christmas,” Mr Simpfendorfer stated.

“It is develop into an actual custom, with youngsters working up and down the rows looking for a tree to take dwelling to beautify.”

The couple purchased the blended farm in 1980 when it grew vines, stone fruit and pistachios.

They turned to rising Aleppo pine and native pine bushes about 25 years in the past as a retirement project.

“We normally get folks from Mildura, Waikerie — across the Riverland cities after all — and we had one offered from Port Augusta, however that is the furthest we have been,” Mr Simpfendorfer stated.

An old white man, Ed Simpfendorfer, in a red santa hat holds up some baby aleppo pine trees.
Mr Simpfendorfer says he loves propagating christmas bushes, particularly due to the enjoyment they convey.(ABC Rural: Eliza Berlage)

Excessive above the Murray River, set again from the golden limestone cliffs, the Simpfendorfers depend themselves fortunate they’ll see the water spill out throughout the flood plains at a protected distance.

The State Emergency Service estimated about 4,000 hectares of agricultural land would be impacted by floodwaters by the top of December.

However for Mr Simpfendorfer, the wetter yr was a boon to his beloved bushes.

“I trim them 3 times a yr, however this yr as a result of it has been such rising season I trimmed them 4 occasions,” he stated.

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