It's a pity the dioxins and the commercial fishing ban coincided - it would be handy to know what the effect of just a commercial ban would have on the system, rather than what is (effectively) a ban on both. I have my suspicions, but we won't have the data to definitively prove anything unfortunately.
That experiment was conducted when the government introduced licences for saltwater fishing. The quid pro quo was use of the funds to buy out commercial fishers to create Recreational Fishing Havens
. Anecdotal evidence is that recreational fishing has boomed, including in Botany Bay and Lake Macquarie which are under substantial pressure from the recreational sector.
This also gives the lie to the nonsense being published about collapsing fish stocks in NSW by the National Parks Association, Wilderness Society and their fellow travellers. If they were on the verge of collapse, cessation of commercial fishing would see a very slow recovery of stocks. The very quick recovery is firm evidence of sustainable harvest in the areas involved. While older rec. fishers will tell you that it is much harder to come by fish today than it once was, this is simply because we are taking more fish out so the equilibrium is lower, perhaps substantially so. It does not indicate that there is no equilibrium. Recovery indicates that there was an equilibrium, and it has increased following reduction in the total pressure.
Sorry for the rant, but thickheads like Paul Winn of the Hunter Community Environment Centre and Megan Kessler of the Nature Conservation Council are sending alarmist bullshit to the press and getting it published and we need to counter it to defend our pastime.