A PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION OF THE NATURAL HISTORY OF THE TIGER FLATHEAD (NE0PLATYCEPHALU8 MACRODON) ON THE SOUTH-EASTERN AUSTRALIAN COAST. I. DISTRIBUTION AND SUPPLY; LENGTH STATISTICS. By A. N. Colefax, B.Sc. (From the Department of Zoology, the University of Sydney.) (Nine Text-figures.) [Read 18th April, 1934.] Introduction. Trawling in New South Wales waters has undergone many changes since its inception in the year 1915, but it is still one of the important industries of the State. Notwithstanding this fact, and the reasonable assumption that Australia offers conditions for an extension of trawling to the other States, practically nothing has been done in the way of organized scientific research on either the general or the special problems of deep sea fisheries, that is apart from the work of systematists (whose sphere is restricted in any case) and the pioneer researches of the ships 'Thetis' and 'Endeavour' prior to 1915. Since 1915 a considerable amount of useful data has accumulated, mainly in the form of the records of the various companies, including the State Trawlers, and, although fragmentary in parts, could have proved of immediate practical value to those directly interested. The scientific importance of such matters has often been urged, but neither detailed suggestive programmes of research, nor actual efforts to work out any problem have been made. In any case no money has been available, this naturally proving a rather serious deterrent. In 1927-28 the U.S.A. Government spent some £300,000 on its Bureau of Fisheries, whilst in the United Kingdom as much as £80,000 has been expended on a research vessel; in South Africa, too, £25,000 was made available for this purpose. Early in 1930, Professor Dakin, of this Department, stressed the desirability of research in trawling problems in these waters, and suggested certain lines of inquiry and plans for investigation. The trawler companies were then complaining of a steady decline in the supply of fish in the trawling grounds. The present investigations were initiated in 1930* and the trawling companies were approached for permission to send someone on their boats periodically with a view to making observations. Red Funnel Fisheries, Ltd., cordially invited us to make use of their ships, and our thanks are due to them for the kindness and courtesy extended throughout the work. * The work was rendered possible by a grant from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, to whom separate acknowledgement must be made.