Meet a member – Malcolm McNeill

Malcolm McNeill entered the fishing industry as a deep-sea fisherman in 1986 progressing through the ranks to Skipper before moving ashore into a Vessel Management role in 2000.

During his time as a  Skipper he pioneered the Ross Sea Toothfish fishery and then as the Vessel Manager played an active role in the development of fishing gear and methods that significantly minimised the impact on seabird by catch in demersal longline fisheries in the Southern Hemisphere.

Following a four year study period where he obtained a Bachelor of Applied Science (hons) in Aquaculture and Marine Science in 2011 he returned to the fishing industry in New Zealand in several senior management capacities within Sealord Group before moving to Hobart in 2015 to take up the role as Managing Director of the toothfish company Australian Longline.

His role as Managing Director of a small company requires him to be actively involved in all aspect of the business including fisheries and environmental science and management, sales and marketing, logistics, compliance, human resources, vessel operations and, more recently, boat building.

“Our vessels fish throughout the year across 230 degrees of longitude between 50 S and the Antarctic Coastline surrounded by the ever present dangers of sea ice and the southern ocean stormy seas while operating within the most stringent fishery and environmental regulations imposed upon any fishing fleet in the world”.

“These vessels then land the most lucrative white fish species in the world into either Australia, Mauritius or New Zealand for exporting directly into SE Asia and the US”.

“How could I not like this job?” Malcolm said. “There is never a dull moment, or a day when we can’t predict what lies ahead for that day”.

“Our small team jokes that one day we will be able to put our feet up and accurately plan ahead for the year. But that thought is quickly thrown away as the next scheme or issue that comes our way sending us happily scrambling to put plans in place to make it happen”.

One of Australian Longline’s goals is to bring the deep-water fishing operations back into Australia, especially Tasmania.

“It has been great to see a rekindled hustle and bustle around the Tasmanian wharves and the supporting services benefiting from our deep-water boats unloading into here during the last year, as opposed to other countries.

So, my vision is quite simple, let the doors be held open again for Australian deep-water fishing boats to provide employment opportunities and business support within Australia by reducing bureaucratic and cost barriers that ultimately drive us offshore”.

In October 2020 Australian Longline will welcome to Hobart a new state of the art 61.9m longline vessel “Antarctic Aurora” that is currently under construction to replace one of their older vessels.

“Antarctic Aurora is being built specifically for Toothfish fishing in the Southern Ocean and is capable of spending >140 days at sea while ensuring that is surpasses the regulatory environmental requirements that exist within these fisheries.

More importantly though, it provides the safest working platform as can be achieved within a vessel of this class, with considerable attention given to comfort and safety features for the crew and a multitude of mechanical redundancy features that minimise the risk of catastrophic breakdowns