THE parents of missing fisherman Mick Endres are facing up to the reality that their son will never come home alive.
The sea search was officially called off on Sunday, after Mr Endres's fishing launch was found empty on Saturday morning.
He was last heard alive 30 hours prior to that.
Phyllis and Colin Endres, of South Lismore, were grief stricken, and said they were "facing up to the reality" their son would not have survived for so long in the water without safety gear.
The only solace for the parents was knowing their son "had died doing what he loved", Mrs Endres said.
"All he ever wanted was to be a fisherman," she said.
"He would say he started fishing when he was seven years old, but he was younger than that."
The Endres family thanked all involved in the search: police, pilots and the many locals who joined, including Evans Head Fishing Charters.
"We understand the commercial realities of why the search had to be called off," Mr Endres said.
Evans Head Fishermen's Co-op chairman Bill Harris said Mr Endres's passion for fishing only increased when he gained his professional licence.
"Mick did everything he could do, and he worked very hard at his job, and would go out in all weather," Mr Harris said.
Mr Endres was elected to the co-op board this year.
He has two sons.