BOOK REVIEW | For They Were Fishers: The History of the Fishing Industry in South Australia

There have been several histories of individual fisheries reviewed here over the years. Normally, they focus on a particular species or a region. Most are written from a passionate interest in that specific fishery. They are, thus, generally good history and good reading. They can be both enjoyable and educational.

This recently re-issued book is a very good example. Commencing with the earliest colonial days in South Australia, it describes aboriginal fishing techniques and activity and then proceeds through the successive booms and busts of the developing industry until the mid-1980s. It is a pity, however, that in releasing this facsimile edition, the author did not update her work to record the very significant developments in South Australian fisheries over the past quarter of a century.

The early days were certainly fascinating and South Australia was, to its great credit and benefit, an early adopter of modern fisheries management methods. There is much for the local industry to be proud of from those days.

However, there has been even more achievement since. The rapid development of southern bluefin tuna ranching, kingfish aquaculture, and the rigorous but very beneficial management of both the Spencer Gulf prawn fishery and the southern rock lobster sector are outstanding examples of that.

Nevertheless, the author has mined a very rich lode of fascinating, hard-driving individuals, their boats and their businesses. It was a pleasure to re-read this excellent book after a gap of more than thirty years.

Author: Evelyn Wallace-Carter

Available from the author, Adelaide, South Australia.


Neil Baird

Co-founder and former Editor-in-Chief of Baird Maritime and Work Boat World magazine, Neil has travelled the length and breadth of this planet in over 40 years in the business. He knows the global work boat industry better than anyone.