Prawn pioneer Roger 'Doc' Howlett remembered on Spencer Gulf

A major tribute has been made to the late Roger 'Doc' Howlett, with his family and the Spencer Gulf and West Coast Prawn Fishermen's Association paying tribute to the pioneer of king prawn fishing in the gulf.

On May 7 Mr Howlett's daughter Sharyn Graham and his granddaughter Shantel Graham went out on the prawn boat Sachi V to scatter his ashes at the Gutter, where he discovered the first commercial quantity of prawns in South Australia in 1967.

Mrs Graham said her father's final wishes before his death in February 2018 was to have his ashes spread where he first discovered the prawns.

She said this all got started with a discussion with association coordinator on land Greg Palmer.

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"I was having a conversation with Greg Palmer one day about spreading my Dad's ashes and he then responded with 'how would you like to go out on a prawn boat to do so'," she said.

"I couldn't believe his kind gesture and thought how ironic to be able to do that since this is all about Dad and prawning."

While COVID-19 forced the trip to be delayed the association helped to make it happen, with owner and skipper of Sachi V Dino Vidov providing his vessel to get to the Gutter.

With the help of association executive officer Simon Clark the exact "shot" or location at the Gutter was located and the trip took place.

Mrs Graham said she knew how much the sea meant to her father and to be able to fulfill his wishes with help from the association was "a proud moment".

"I'm a proud daughter for what Dad did and to be able to follow my Dad's wishes I will cherish that forever," she said.

The tribute did not end with the scattering of his ashes as prawn fishing boats took part in a minute silence in honour of Mr Howlett. as Dino and Kim Vidov organised

Mrs Graham said from Kim Vidov's suggestion it grew to be set up with coordinator at sea Ashley Lukin, as well as Mr Clark who put it together.

Mr Clark said the association was honoured to be able to pay tribute to such a pioneer of the fishery and to help Mr Howlett's family make it happen.

"It was an honour to participate and be part of it, and to pay back to his family," he said.

Mrs Graham said it was a great show of respect to her father and his achievements and the family was grateful.

"Word can't explain the kind gesture of all involved, the family will be forever grateful," she said.

The family has extended their thanks to Mr Palmer, Mr Clark, Mr Lukin and to Kim and Dino Vidov, as well as Nik, Jhy and Jackson on Sachi V.

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This story 'Doc' laid to rest where it all began at 'Gutter' first appeared on Port Lincoln Times.

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