NSW Fishing Industry: Changes in the Twenty-First Century

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Advice on legislation or legal policy issues contained in this paper is provided for use in parliamentary debate and for related parliamentary purposes. This paper is not professional legal opinion.


Briefing Paper No. 11/2004 by John Wilkinson

  • The NSW commercial fishing industry has typically been a small-scale industry composed of small family businesses (pp.3-4).
  • Many NSW fishing people have earned only a modest income and, in the past, have needed the assistance of government to remain viable (pp.4-5, 22-23).
  • Imports compose the largest portion of fish eaten in New South Wales. Local catch accounts for only a small percentage of the fish consumed in the state (pp. 23-24).
  • Overfishing has often occurred amongst fish stocks in New South Wales, and has re-emerged as an issue with the ‘super trawler’ Veronica (pp.1-2, 30-31).
  • Recovery of fisheries’ administration costs has recently become a major consideration in government policy (pp.25-27).
  • A share managed approach, to fisheries operation, has been adopted by recent state governments: both as a mechanism to facilitate cost recovery, and as a means to conserve the resource (pp.31-34, 39-44).
  • Recreational fishing has been concurrently elevated in government policy: partly because of its capacity to stimulate the tourism and retailing sectors of the economy (pp.34-38).
  • Oyster production is the state’s most important form of aquaculture, earning nearly half the worth of the state’s conventional commercial fisheries (pp.45-47).
  • Indigenous Australians have concerns over the arrival share management: particularly as it impacts on their traditional status as fishers, and as it affects their involvement in the beach hauling sector of the industry (pp.47-51).