Tales of a Trapman - A sustainable fishing narrative | Oceanwatch Australia

Tales of a Trapman – A sustainable fishing narrative

The blue waters off the coast of New South Wales teem with marine life that support the livelihoods of professional fishers. For Jason Moyce or Trapman as some know him, it has been a way of life for the last 30 years.

Saltwater runs deep in the veins of the Moyce family as his father was a professional fisherman all his life, mainly line fishing for Snapper and Kingfish. It was with his father he got his first taste of the high seas.

“I spent all my school holidays working on boats with other professional fishers, learning about fishing and diving. At 15 I became the youngest professional fisher in Sydney.”

Mostly fishing out of Botany Bay in Sydney he then moved his operation down to Bermagui on the NSW south coast, working the coastline most days of the week. Jason is now the proud owner of his own trap fishing boat, the 10m Randell, which he uses to catch Lobster, Leather Jackets, Snapper and Morwong.

“I love the freedom of the ocean and being with nature. I see things that most people never will, such as the majesty of great white sharks swimming beneath the boat, whales breaching at sunrise and the company of dolphin pods as I work. I get to do what I love for a living and live in a great part of the world”


To separate undersize fish from the catch and improve sustainability, Jason uses large square weld mesh panels in his fish traps. These particular traps make for a more selective catch and allows Jason to return any bycatch into the ocean.

Unfortunately Jason has seen huge amounts of plastic and rubbish on the ocean. Sydney being the worst place for floating rubbish.

“Some of the beaches in Botany Bay were terrible. I’ve found dead turtles with plastic around their necks. More recently I’ve pulled out plastic bags from the stomach of a juvenile Tiger Shark that had been entangled in debris which certainly shocked me and I believe many others too. It has made me very aware of the impact plastic bags can have on oceans and our marine life.”

Not only is Jason a professional fisher he also has dreams for the industry he loves and wants to see it thrive with good community relations. His Instagram account @Trapman_Bermagui has amassed a huge following as he puts on display his life as a professional fisher.

The idea behind Trapman Bermagui is to try and dispel some of the myths and misconceptions that exist and to give people more understanding of what is involved in the everyday life of a professional fisher.

“I would also like to bridge the gap between professional and amateur fishermen, by sharing some of my knowledge and experience to help create a more sustainable and enjoyable ocean for everyone.”

“Rec Fishing was and still is a favourite thing of mine to do. I love throwing a bait in from a boat or even off the rocks to catch a feed.”

It is this open minded and positive attitude that will help drive a positive future for Australia’s Seafood Industry. Having a vision like this encompasses the issues facing the industry at a local and personal level. Jason believes it is shared values and a love for the ocean and its offerings that will build a bright future and strong community ties.

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