The Tuna PolerPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Stephen Warren
The sculpture commemorates all who took part in the pioneering form of fishing for tuna and laid the foundations for the industry`s success. 

Fishermen were catching tuna in small boats in the 1930s, and in 1944, CSIRO fisheries researcher Stanley Fowler saw the industry's potential as he flew over the Great Australian Bight, sighting schools of migrating tuna.

But the industry was properly launched with the 150-tonne Tacoma in 1951, and a loan from the South Australian Government that committed it to fishing from Port Lincoln. The Tacoma's crew originally used nets and then turned to bamboo poles in the mid-50s, which were being used in the US tuna fishery.

In the late 1970s, the industry transitioned from poling tuna to purse seine fishing, which allowed the tuna fleet to catch more fish. But by the 1980s, and with Japan also fishing for Southern Bluefin Tuna, the global catch began to decline. A quota system was introduced, and tough times followed for Port Lincoln. Through the 1980s and into the early 2000s, Australia worked with other countries to agree on a sustainable annual quota.

The Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna was established in 1994 and in 2011 introduced a management procedure, which set the quota based on data trends.


Address:Tasman Terrace, Foreshore, Port Lincoln, 5606
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.719695
Long: 135.858252
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:Technology
Artist:Ken Martin


Front Inscription

The Tuna Polers

Tuna polers described their work as exhilarating and dangerous. This sculpture commemorates all who took part in this pioneering form of fishing for tuna and laid the foundation for today`s success

This scene acknowledges the Southern Bluefin Tuna and reflects on the lives and contribution of polers, crews and land based support

Major Contributors
Rotary Club of Port Lincoln                                                  Axel Stenross Maritime Museum
City of Port Lincoln                                                               Dr Hagen Stehr AO
Australasian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association   Sime Sarin Am & Elida Sarin 
Stehr Group                                                                         Bendigo Bank Port Lincoln
The Teakle Foundation                                                        Dean Lukin
David Lukin 

Together with many other generous donors

Sculptor Ken Martin

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au