Dinko Lukin was a fisherman, a problem solver and an inventor.
In the 1960s Dinko built the Orao, a boat that became enshrined in Port Lincoln folklore, and first poled tuna in the Great Australian Bight.
Government restrictions in response to overfishing of Southern Bluefin Tuna hit the industry hard in the 1980s.
But Dinko was ahead of his time. He hatched the ground-breaking idea of farming this fast swimming ocean fish. It was the lifeline the industry needed.
In a quest to develop the most sustainable Bluefin Tuna fishery in the world, Dinko Tuna implemented the harvest of wild Bluefin Tuna as they pass through the cold, clean waters of South Australia during late summer in February/March.
Using a purse seine method, the live fish are corralled and only a select number are transferred to a net, which is slowly towed back to Port Lincoln, where they are ranched. The remaining fish are set free to continue their migration. When the captured fish arrive in Port Lincoln, they are fed a diet of premium, fresh, sustainable pilchards, sardines and yellow tail.
The method doubled the fishermen’s quota as the limit on their catch was determined by the weight of the fish caught in the wild, with any weight gained in captivity a bonus. Dinko Lukin’s solution is now the internationally accepted method for Bluefin Tuna farming.
Before Lukina Lukin met her husband, she knew nothing about farming Southern Bluefin Tuna. She enjoyed a spot of fishing but nothing like the level of fishing business she would one day inherit.
Through the course of her marriage, Dinko taught Lukina everything he knew. It was his plan that she would one day take over the business. It’s Lukina’s different perspective and background that has made her leadership of the Dinko Tuna business such a success story.
“Dinko gave me so much training in not just the business operations but also in fishing and refrigeration. I’m not just a fisherwoman… I see things differently. When I have an idea, I run with it, with the support of our team. I’m always looking for new ideas that we can develop and apply to our products. It’s really what keeps me going.”
Lukina is passionate about the business her husband grew from the ground up and is excited about continuing his legacy as the first female ‘tuna boss’.
Michael has been with Dinko Tuna since he was a 16-year-old school leaver. He was determined to join the fishing industry and, despite his parents’ best efforts to dissuade him, joined one of the Dinko Tuna boats – an experience he acknowledges as “the best start I could have ever asked for.”
More than three decades later, Michael still loves working for the company that first gave him a chance in the industry. It is the future of Dinko Tuna, under Lukina’s careful guidance, that really gets Michael out of bed each day.
He was working with Dinko in the 80s when Dinko transformed the industry… and now he is supporting the new captain at the helm of the ship.
“Lukina is bringing the company into a new era. In many ways the challenges ahead of us are similar to those we faced in my early days with Dinko Tuna. The industry is going in new directions and there are new and different challenges. Facing those head on is what keeps the fire burning.”
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