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The Way Things Were
Tuesday, 08 December 2015 17:08

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Author: Dudley P Gordon
Publisher: Whale World

From Baird Maritime

Australia’s commercial fishing industry is disappearing before our eyes. It is a tragedy that it is vanishing, indeed a crime, but it is equally tragic that its history has been so inadequately recorded. This fine book, which will, unfortunately, inform far too few readers, is a valuable exception to that nearly iron rule.

The author wanted to be a fisherman but ended up as a West Australian fisheries inspector. Near enough. Fortunately, he didn’t go over to the “dark side” and as a result has produced this largely fair and balanced account of the history of the West Australian fishing industry with particular focus on the once great and lucrative lobster fishery. Importantly, in ensuring balance in this history, after 18 years in the Department of Fisheries, became a lobster fisherman himself.

The ongoing struggle between the fishermen and the bureaucrats who regulate them is well known, mostly, for its bitterness. This book, seeing the war from both sides, shows clearly why that is so. It is impossible to think of any other industry where the relationship between the operators and the bureaucrats who regulate them is so antagonistic. Here we have it warts and all.

There is too much detail and the book would have benefited from tighter editing but it is still fascinating and anyone, like your reviewer, who has spent time in the West Australian lobster fishing sector will appreciate its value.

Ordering information:

Whale World
Albany, Australia
Web: www.whaleworld.org

 

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