Degree Name

GEOG401: Human Geography (Honours)




Professor Gordon Waitt and Ms Michelle Voyer


Demands on fish stocks are generated by the millions of people who rely upon ocean and river systems for employment, food security and recreation. As such, sustainable fisheries management is an urgent global objective. This thesis addresses a challenge to the sustainable management of fisheries that lies in resolving conflicts over access to and use of fisheries resources. This thesis contributes a political ecology perspective to those advocating for the importance of human dimensions to fisheries management. The thesis reports on a mixed-method qualitative research design employed to gather empirical materials surrounding the conflict over Mulloway in the New South Wales coast and estuary waters of the Hawkesbury River, adjacent to metropolitan Sydney. Fifteen participants consented to participate in the project, five each from three social groups often involved in such conflicts: fisheries management and scientists; recreational fishers and commercial fishers. Employing a political ecology framework the thesis extends its aim to provide insights to two questions about the conflict over Mulloway: ‘Is there a problem?” and ‘Who is to blame?’ In addressing these questions through a political ecology lens the thesis attends to how conflict is embedded in the different economic relationships of recreational and commercial fisheries, a hierarchy of environmental knowledge and uneven social relationships. The thesis underscores the importance of human dimensions to fisheries management to help resolve environmental management conflicts and points towards future research agendas.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.