fish lips

Some of my favourite statutory definitions are in the NSW Security Interests in Goods Act, for instance:

1. “stock” includes any sheep, goats, cattle, horses, swine, poultry, alpacas, llamas, ostriches or other animals (except fish)

2. “fish” (adopting the meaning from Fisheries Management Act 1994) means marine, estuarine or freshwater fish or other aquatic animal life at any stage of their life history (whether alive or dead), including oysters and other aquatic molluscs, crustaceans, echinoderms, beachworms and other aquatic polychaetes

This means that it’s not possible to have a stock mortgage over fish, but it is possible to have an aquaculture fish mortgage over them provided they are used in aquaculture.

Confused? Never fear, the Personal Properties Security Bill was introduced into Federal parliament at the end of July. If passed this will get rid of a whole lot of state legislation and make some significant changes to the common law relating to goods. It will also create a register of security interests in goods.

It is supposed to provide a uniform national system and to simplify the law…I have my doubts considering the bill has 343 sections and contains the following definitions:

“goods” means personal property that is tangible property, including the following:
(a) crops;
(b) livestock;
(c) wool;
(d) minerals that have been extracted (including hydrocarbons) in any form, whether solid, liquid or gaseous and whether organic or inorganic;
(e) satellites and other space objects; [!!!]
but does not include financial property or an investment entitlement.

livestock includes:

(a)       while they are alive—alpacas, cattle, fish, goats, horses, llamas, ostriches, poultry, sheep, swine and other animals; and

(b)       the unborn young of animals mentioned in paragraph (a)

So what does this mean for our old friends the fish? They now fall within the new definition of livestock and  are  covered by a new definition of fish, which is similar in terms to the old definition except that “dead fish” (and other fish specified in the regulations) are excluded.

I wonder how one tells when an oyster is alive?

Photo used pursuant to creative commons licence.

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