Give someone a fish and they eat for a day, give someone the tools to clean up when they catch one and they can fish for life – and keep the community happy while they’re at it.
‘I love fishing. I want to be in that industry because it’s something that I love,’ says Lyall Aughton, a 16-year-old student from the Noosa Community Training Centre.
‘I go fishing a lot, probably three or four times a week in the Noosa river. I do fish a lot and I catch a lot of fish. Around the Noosa area, around boat ramps and stuff, I’ve only ever noticed two fish cleaning tables.’
When Lyall looks at the existing tables, he doesn’t just see messy, smelly, and in his words ‘dodgy’ amenities. He sees an opportunity, and an underserved market.
So when he took part in Innovate Noosa’s Young Starter ‘Pitch Like a Pro’ workshop in April 2018, Lyall was ready to learn how to capitalise on his observation. His vision of common, publicly available, quality fish cleaning tables was so clear that he won a cash prize when he pitched it.
He used the money to buy parts for a prototype and collaborated with the Noosa Men’s Shed to build it.
Solar lights, which will ensure that even midnight fishing expeditions have no excuse but to clean up, are as high tech as his contraption gets.
‘I want to keep it as simple as possible because its only really for fileting fish. There’s no other thing you use it for. All you really need is something to hold the fish, something to filet the fish, and lights so you can see at night time,’ says Lyall.
His next steps are to test the prototype in the field and start improving it from there, with Pixel Pixel offering help with graphic design and the Men’s Shed keen to continue the prototyping process. Then it will be all about chasing funding to install the finished product as public amenities.
The network that Lyall has started to build in Noosa has been crucial to his success so far.
‘Having those connections has helped me a lot to get this organised and done – I probably wouldn’t be at this stage if we didn’t go to Men’s Shed. And I probably wouldn’t have even thought about doing it if I didn’t go to Innovate Noosa.’
Lyall is learning invaluable skills from this process, and along with the network he is building, he will be well prepared for an entrepreneurial future.
‘If this does work out for me I’m looking to go on to making portable ones, things like fishing rods, design my own lures. It’s my first time doing this so I basically have to ride it out and see where it takes me.’