Publication Details

Gullett, W, Paterson, C and Fisher, E, Substantive precautionary decision-making: the Australian fisheries management authority's 'lawful pursuit' of the precautionary principle, Australasian Journal of Natural Resources Law and Policy, 7, 2001, 95-139.


In this article, the authors review recent Administrative Appeals Tribunal decisions concerning the Australian Fisheries Management Authority's exercise of discretionary powers in pursuit of its statutory objective to ensure that the exploitation of fisheries resources is conducted in a manner consistent ,vith the exercise of the precautionary principle. The most recent of a series of Tribunal decisions which have affirmed the Authority's interpretation and application of the principle as contained in the Fisheries Management Act 1991 (Cth) is discussed in detail, together with Federal Court rulings concerning the content of the Authority's statutory obligation to ensure that fisheries cxploitation maximises economic efficiency and is consistent with ecologically sustainable development. The wider relevance of the decisions is explored with respect to state fisheries legislation and the growing expectation that the management of Australian fisheries will be in a manner consistent with the precautionary approach adopted in international fisheries agreements.

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