The responsibilities of the Service today have been considerably broadened since its inception as the Salmon Commission nearly 150 years ago. They now include the regulation and promotion of commercial freshwater fisheries and the protection of native freshwater fauna. The Service has an obligation to manage Tasmania's freshwater resources in a sustainable manner, so that the best use is made of them while ensuring that Tasmania's freshwater fauna and its habitat are protected for the benefit of future generations.
The Inland Fisheries Service has primary responsibility for administering the Inland Fisheries Act 1995 and its subordinate legislation. Original copies of this legislation are available at www.thelaw.tas.gov.au . The Act provides that the Director of Inland Fisheries is a corporation, responsible for the following functions:
- Manage, control, protect, develop, improve, maintain and regulate salmon fisheries, fisheries in inland waters and freshwater fish;
- Stock inland waters with fish;
- Create, improve and maintain access to inland waters;
- Provide facilities in respect of access to inland waters;
- Carry out research and investigation into matters relating to salmon fisheries and fisheries in inland waters; and
- Collect, publish and disseminate information relating to freshwater fish and inland waters.
Under the Inland Fisheries Act 1995, the Service has jurisdiction over all inland waters, which include lakes, rivers, farm dams, registered private fisheries, ponds and aquaria. The Tasmanian boundary between marine and freshwater is called a seaward limit and the Service controls the inland side of this limit. Seaward limits are generally marked by a physical structure like a bridge, road or white posts, however, in certain locations they are simply map coordinates. Some common examples of seaward limits are provided in the annual inland recreational fishing code and a full list is contained in the Inland Fisheries (Seaward Limits) Order 1996.