Publication Details

Gullett, W, Regulating fishing in Australia: from mullet size limits to international hot pursuits, Dialogue, 28(1), 2009, 26-35.


Fisheries laws simply regulate human interactions with fish. Yet it is an enormous challenge to get them right. The central problem with which fishing laws need to deal is that technological advancements continually enable people (especially commercial fishers) to increase their ability to catch fish. This may be coupled with an increasing number of people fishing, or perhaps a relatively stable number of people fishing but changing their practice such as intensively fishing in one location. Human activities affecting fish are ever changing and, as a result, so too are fisheries laws. Past fishery collapses (such as cod stocks off the east coast of Canada in the early 1990s and orange roughy off the south-east coast of Australia in the mid-1980s) stand as a warning for what can happen if fishing is not properly regulated.

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