CLAYTON BAY - Henry Jones is known in the Lower Lakes for his fine fishing skills and he has just now reeled in one of his biggest catches.
The retired Clayton Bay resident was named a finalist in the South Australia Senior Australian of the Year Award 2013 for his work in water conservation.
The awards were announced at a special dinner in Adelaide on Tuesday, November 12.
Scientist and environmental leader Dr Barbara Hardy AO won the award and Professor Malcolm R Haskard of Humbug Scrub, and Sister Patricia Sealey of Enfield were fellow finalists.
Henry said he was “humbled” and “felt very honoured” to be a finalist.
“The three other finalists were very worthy,” he said.
Henry has no idea who nominated him.
“But when I find out, I’m going to kill them,” he said.
Henry is most proud of helping shape a world first environmental management plan for a whole of fishery in the Lakes and Coorong.
This included looking after fish stocks, banning undersize catching, and finding ways to increase the fish population.
This was achieved during his time as president of the Southern Fishermen’s Association.
“We let mulloway get to a bigger size and allowed fish to live another year so they could spawn,” he said.
He also helped the local fishing community to achieve a Marine Stewardship Council Certification for sustainable fishing practices.
“I was involved in this 20 or 30 years ago, and to see the young fisherman coming through and carry the flag, it’s really great,” he said.
As a resident of Clayton Bay since 1961 and a fourth generation fisherman, the Lower Lakes have been close to his heart.
Working on the River Murray and helping bring the lakes back to life has been one of his most rewarding projects.
He was a member of the Murray-Darling Basin Community Committee. There, he advised the Murray-Darling Basin Authority about the lakes’ situation, which would in turn help inform what should be included in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
“Seeing the river die before my eyes, then slowly get water back and see it come back to life has been the biggest (project),” Henry said.
Over time, Henry has captained CFS units, established boat clubs, built community halls and sat on the Strathalbyn-Milang council for 10 years.
But he knows a champion team is better than a team of champions.
“Every job I’ve done, there has been people there that have helped me,” he said.
Henry credits his wife of 51 years, Gloria, as the biggest support.
“She’s been behind everything I’ve done,” he said.
“Fifty per cent of the credit goes to her.”
Gloria said she was “very proud” of her husband.
“He’s taken on the lot during this life; I think he’s done very well,” she said.
Felicity-ann Lewis named South Australian of the Year: Former Yankalilla woman and current Local Government Association president Felicity-ann Lewis has been bestowed with a top award for her contributions to the state.