My writings on fisheries matters concentrate on how the management of Australia's fisheries resources have been developed and managed during the past 200 years.

Some papers appear on this site, some are held on the STORS site at the State Library of Tasmania and others can be found in print.

For the STORS papers

Progress in Managing Fisheries in Australia 1800-1990

The National Picture

Fisheries management in Australia began well before the nation was created. In the twenty years before federation there was an awakening of public interest in both developing the potential of fisheries resources and the need to conserve them. Reckless harvesting of whales, seals and oysters had already demonstrated the need for governments to regulate the industry. In the 1880s the Government of Tasmania started a formal process of fisheries development and regulation based on good scientific advice. This initiative was picked up by other colonies and a suite of Fisheries Acts provided a legal foundation for conserving marine living resources. The colonies expected the new national parliament to build on their initiatives.

The Development of Fisheries Management in Tasmania:

The Tasmanian  Parliament enacted its first fisheries law in the 1830s regulating whaling. An Act for the conservation of oysters followed in 1853 and for certain freshwater fish in 1859. The first comprehensive Fisheries Act came in 1884 following a Royal Commission in 1882. All commercial boats have been licensed since 1889.
Tasmania established a Fisheries Department in 1884 with professional staff. Financial constraints led to its replacement with a board of honorary Commissioners in 1889. The prime interest of this body was to nurture trout fishing but it also managed commercial sea fishing. In 1925 responsibility for the two sectors was split with the establishment of the Sea Fisheries Board. In 1941 their responsibilities were taken over by the Fisheries division of the Department of Agriculture. A specialist fisheries agency was reintroduced in 1977 when the Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority was formed with the prime objective of to create new fishing industries particularly trawling and aquaculture. Almost exactly 100 years after the first Fisheries Department was formed another was created from the disbanded TFDA and history repeated itself when it lost its independent status and was swallowed by the Department of Agriculture in 1989.


Fisheries management is undertaken by people and it aims to regulate the behaviour of those people taking fish. Consequently its history is dominated by those who pioneered the techniques or who showed the way to fish more effectively, more economically or more responsibly. Some of my work has been to record their lives and their contributions.

William Saville-Kent, - Biologist, aquaculturalist, author.
Thomson Theodore Flynn - Professor of Biology, fisheries researcher, (father of Errol)
The Cramp Brothers - anglers and fisheries administrators.
Rattenbury, father and son - commercial fishermen.
Handy Jaeger - fisherman