The Art of Saltwater Fishing: An Interview with Ron Ardler

‘Where’s your trawler anchored?’
‘It’s those little boats – we row ’em.’
‘You don’t. The last time we saw anything like that was over in Greece.’
‘We still do it. Our grandfathers and our fathers taught us. It just goes on and on.’

(Exchange between the legendary Ron Ardler and a customer after purchasing some fish.)

In this interview, which took place at Ron Ardler’s house on 6 December 2014 at 11am, Ron, his son Anthony ‘Bullant’ Ardler, and Phillip McLeod talk about the difficult task of maintaining Aboriginal fishing business and of preserving the fishing environment in the face of unsympathetic bureaucrats, regulations and general ignorance about the nature of Aboriginal fishing knowledge and practices. There is something very wrong when the custodians and caretakers and traditional owners of fishing resources are being fined and sometimes jailed by authorities. As this interview suggests, Aboriginal fishing knowledge needs to be at the forefront of how the NSW fishing grounds are regulated and preserved for future generations. This carries on the important story which we began in our interview with John Brierley and Andrew Nye.

Story Contributed by Peter Botsman, Ron Ardler and Gerry Moore. Published in 2022.