In its effort to resolve the conflict between commercial and recreational fishers the New South Wales (NSW) government (NSW Fisheries) banned commercial fishing in the estuarine waters. The NSW Fisheries conducted a number of studies and held meetings with the affected communities including commercial fishers prior to the implementation of the ban. To investigate how community consultation played a role in the decision-making process especially as perceived by the commercial fishers and to determine actual social impacts of the ban on commercial fishers, in-depth interviews were conducted with the commercial fishers. This research reveals that despite the NSW Fisheries' consultations with commercial fishers prior to the closure, the latter were confused about various vital aspects of the decision. It further reveals that, the commercial fishers faced a number of significant changes as a result of this decision. We argue that a better decision-making process and outcome would have been possible through a meaningful consultation with the commercial fishers and a social impact assessment.
Environmental Impact Assessment Review Vol. 28, Issue 2-3, p. 214-225