producer: Phil and Kathyrn McAdam

Australia > Victoria > Port Philip Bay

Phil McAdam is a second-generation fisher and owner of Vancouver Fisheries in Williamstown, Victoria. Passionate about fishing since a young age, Phil left school at 13 to help his father and brother out on the water. By his early 20s, he bought his first specialised Purse Seine Fishing vessel and opened a factory to freeze and salt sardines and anchovy – and has not stopped ever since. 

Over the years, he has become an expert in catching the freshest sardines in Melbourne, more often than not available at restaurants within 3 hours of being caught. Phil’s love for fishing and commitment towards running the family business has been relentlessly supported by his wife Kim Condon. Like any true family business, his daughters Claire & Kathren also found themselves drawn to fishing, currently working with their father sharing the effort to operate the boat. The dream for the family would be having little Noah, their grandson, run the family business in the years to come.  

Fishing is a passion and Phil lives it every day. “Many a night, the crew and I find ourselves waiting at the deck for hours for the weather to clear up”, says Phil. Being out on the boat, processing and packaging the fish for roughly 8-9 hours every day requires discipline and years of expertise. It has never only been about the money for Phil. His joy comes from providing chefs and customers fresh and high-quality sardines caught with minimal impact. 

Unfortunately, under legislation passed by the Victorian State Parliament, all commercial net fishing in Port Phillip Bay will be shut down by April 2022. This means no locally caught sardines in Melbourne restaurants nor bait for Port Phillip Bay recreational fishers.  We think this is wrong.  Buy Phil and Kathryn’s sardines and post about it to ensure access to fresh local fish.    

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