Paulanderson wrote: is a truly unique account of fishing in South-Eastern Australia in the early days.
And is generally regarded as mostly a load of rubbish by the scientific community. The computer models are right, based on studies of Trout cod in the Murray River downstream of Yarrawonga, the photos and stories are wrong. They say optimum Trout cod habitat was originally from Yarrawonga to Barmah - I simply extended that upstream to Tintaldra, Myrtleford and Eildon. There are more good photos in existance of captures of trout cod in the middle Goulburn River than the rest of the M-D Basin put together - they are just anomalies! One member of the Trout Cod Recovery Team told me that the old blokes had dementia, they wouldn't know what a trout cod was - despite the fact that some of them were the ones that fought to get them recognised as a distinct species in the 1950s and 60s.
One scientist stated there were no blackfish above waterfalls, despite early newspaper accounts recording their presence - they obviously didn't read the chapter on how aborigines translocated fish. Cod could not have been abundant in the Murrumbidgee near Gundagai - it's too shallow. It is today, but some scientists didn't bother to read that the river was originally deep but had silted up by 1900. There are a few mistakes in the book, but not many.
All the work in 'True Tales' was done for free. It took about six years, done in the little spare time I had in my life then. The only things I was paid for were costs for attending a few conferences and a bit of photocopying - about $3000. By comparison I was asked to assist another fish history project that received a substantial grant. I didn't help a lot as a university person indicated that it wasn't very desirable to have me involved - probably because I'm a white, straight, male that goes fishing. I went to great lengths in True Tales to develop criteria to pin down the identity of fish, and for every record I provided a level of reliability - eg ask a person who caught 'bream' if they had forked or rounded tails. That was to give credibility to what I considered a scientific work. I tried to guide the other project in that direction, but a DELWP person said they didn't want a boring work about fish, they wanted the human stories ...
I started collecting records and writing a book on the history of the coastal rivers of Victoria but I wouldn't waste my time now.
It seems that science has drifted away from the concept of the "null hypothesis". Despite the evidence I presented the scientific community has not budged to accommodate it. At no point did I say they were wrong, just that some models and hypothesis were incomplete or partially inaccurate. I trained as a scientist, had a brief stint at CSIRO and worked in the aquaculture industry. It is very concerning to see the direction science is heading in.
rodderslw wrote:o what did it mean by a 2lb "bream". Is that a boney bream, silver perch or maybe a yellow belly?
Difficult to say without additional information. There are few first hand accounts of maccas in the Loddon system - they were virtually wiped out by the gold rush. There are a number of accounts of 'bream' having been common at about 300 m asl in the Loddon and nowhere else in the state were silver perch common at this altitude so those accounts likely refer to Macquarie perch.