By Julian Pepperell
Better known as a marine biologist and angling writer, the author, perhaps surprisingly, turns out to be something of an historian. Here he has done a good job of “trawling”, for want of a better word, through the reports of Australia’s explorers and early settlers for references to fishing.
He has been diligent, as a good scientist should, and has recovered a bumper “catch” of particularly interesting references. They form the basis of a very useful and enjoyable history of fishing in Australian waters.
Although, probably for the benefit of the general reader, the author seems to be overly focused on sharks, he gives a good overview of most of the better-known Australian fish species. He covers a lot of ground, both geographically and chronologically from pre-European days to the present. He describes, through contemporary reports, aboriginal fishing activity and techniques and looks at subsistence and commercial fishing and angling.
A fine and well-illustrated study of an important but, hitherto, sadly neglected subject.
Available from Rosenberg Publishing, Dural, Australia.