Dob-in-a-mate: Meet Peter Rickerby – Abalone diver, movie star and all round nice guy
Peter Rickerby, you’ve seen and heard the name but may not know a great deal about him. Abalone Licence holder and all round nice guy, Peter has been the chairman of the Abalone Industry for the past three years, just recently moving into the space of executive officer on an interim basis.
WAFIC had to ask the question, Peter you have been an Abalone Diver since 2002.. surely you would have some interesting stories on you.
And trust me, we are glad that the question was asked… he did not disappoint…
Peter Rickerby became involved in the seafood industry through his family. His late father Mike bought an abalone license in 1985 and Peter began working with him at the age of 20 in 2002. For 10 years Peter was an abalone diver – the ocean his desk or ‘playground’ where he would spend 6-8 hours underwater diving for this edible treasure, sometimes hauling 100kg of abalone a day.
But as one of the world’s most dangerous positions, Peter decided he had his fill of abalone diving and the risks that go with it and in 2012 he hung up the flippers.
A second-generation abalone diver, Peter had exposure to all elements within the fishery, whether it be from the operational stand point of fishing or the political and managerial side of the fishing industry.
These skills and industry experience assisted him to fill the position of Chairman of the Abalone Industry Associate of WA (AIAWA), where he was in the position for 3 years whilst in his third year of university – studying Marketing and Finance. He recently took on the position of Interim Executive Officer taking over from fellow Abalone diver, Nathan Adams.
Meeting new people and the daily challenges are what he loves about his current job.
“In these positions you meet a lot of people along the way. For me, there is not just one particular person that I look up to in the industry – it would have to be anyone who stands up for others and wants to make the world a better place for all.
“Daily challenges in the role of Executive Officer have taught me a lot about what goes on behind the scenes. These ‘scenes’ are what you don’t know about unless you are in this position – so it has been an eye-opening experience.”
If abalone diving wasn’t adrenaline inducing and heart pumping enough, Peter also attempted a career in the film industry as a stunt man. He said that although it was a good fit, due to his 14 years of training in Taekwondo, the career which masters on being battered and bruised was short lived because of injuries and limited opportunities.
“Although, I did get extra work in the movies Scooby-Doo and Attack of the Queen where I played a navy seal”, he chuckled.
Now as you would expect from an ex-abalone diver, Peter has many fond memories from the ocean. Reflecting on his favourite, he said it would have to be the first whale that he saw underwater.
“But you know what”…. he gasped.
“I do have to tell the tale about one very bored, mischievous seal.”
“There I was, hauling abalone for the day when this seal came along to help out for the day… deciding ‘help’ meant to tip my abalone out of my bag. Now, she did this 3 or 4 times and I would not have minded except for the fact that every time she tipped the bag, it caused my underwater scooter to begin ascending.”
Peter explained that his scooter had a parachute attached with air in it which was connected to his abalone bag. The seal had figured out that the weight of the abalone in the bag stopped it from floating away.
“To get revenge I placed all the abalone back in my bag then swam around a rather large rock to hide.”
“Little did she know I was now right behind her. As she picked my bag up with her mouth I quickly swam out from the rock, right alongside the seal – which she did not expect – at all!
“As she didn’t see me coming, her choice was fight or flight. Choosing the latter, she took off as fast as she could, heart most likely racing. But before it was goodbye she did a quick U-turn and just sat staring at me like a puppy dog that just had its bone stolen, probably thinking – I don’t like you anymore.”
“I do have to say… she didn’t tip my abalone out my bag again and I had a good laugh”.
For Peter, when quizzed about his thoughts on the seafood industry, he said that the industry provides humanity with an essential part of life – delicious food. It does go beyond that it also provides jobs and it is a way of life for many people. Going forward he said the industry does need to put more emphasis on practical sustainable fishing practices to prevent overfishing and depletion of the stocks.
Now back on the topic where we talk about the essential part of life, delicious food, the question had to be asked, Peter, your favorite seafood?
“Anything fresh,” he said. “3 of my favorites have to be Dhufish, chilli mussels and abalone.”
“But the abalone need to be cooked perfectly so they melt in your mouth!”