OBITUARY | Robert “Bob” Mostyn Jnr

OBITUARY | Robert “Bob” Mostyn Jnr

The Australian fishing industry lost one of its renowned pioneers last week. Bob Mostyn, former managing director of the major seafood exporter Craig Mostyn and Co, died at the age of 93.

He facilitated a fascinating and illuminating trip for me on the maiden voyage of the company's then new and revolutionary prawn trawler Karumba Norman, skippered by the redoubtable "Paddles" Taylor, from Bundaberg to Karumba. I then crewed on several of its early fishing voyages in the Gulf during mid-1969. I will always be grateful to him for that experience that taught me so much about this industry.

Bob was one of the founding developers of Australia's once flourishing tropical prawn export industry. While noted for other seafood ventures around the coast, he was best known as the driving force behind the development of the Gulf of Carpentaria prawn business in the 1960s and 70s.

In conjunction with CSIRO, Mostyns explored, delineated and eventually exploited the unreliable but sometimes vast stocks in the Gulf. In the face of bureaucratic interference and other obstacles of climate and remoteness, he built a sizable business based at Karumba in the south-east corner of the Gulf. Starting from nothing, there were, for a time, more than 300 trawlers operating in the fishery.

Craig Mostyn and Co later sold its prawning business to Markwell Fisheries who sold it, much later, to the current owners, Raptis Fisheries. Bob was involved with many other important fisheries including lobsters and abalone as well as pork and other food products. He was behind several aquaculture ventures. The company remains an important player in the Australian seafood business.

Vale Bob Mostyn, fisheries pioneer.

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