Coffs Harbour and Ballina will be home to new artificial reefs under the NSW Liberals and Nationals Government’s commitment to drive sustainable recreational fishing in NSW.
Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders said the Offshore Artificial Reefs (OARs), which are purpose-built structures placed on the sea floor, will provide high-quality fish habitats in a big win for recreational fishers.
“These latest two offshore reefs will bring the total deployed by this Government to 13, spanning waters from Tweed Heads to Merimbula,” Mr Saunders said.
“The man-made reefs create the perfect marine environment for a range of fish species and in a few short years we expect to see an abundance of fish, from SpottedMackerel, to Yellowtail Kingfish, Mulloway, Pearl Perch and Snapper.
“They also provide a significant boost to our recreational fishers, who contribute a huge $3.4 billion to the NSW economy each year.
“It’s fantastic news for both of these regions and is another example of how recreational fishing fees are being put to work.”
In 2021, almost 1,200 EOI submissions were received from recreational fishers and Forster and the Central Coast were the first regions selected for new OARs to be completed this year.
Coffs Harbour and Ballina are the latest regions to be chosen through this process and are due for completion in 2024.
The factors considered included fisher support, availability of nearby natural reef and distance from previously installed offshore artificial reefs.
Professor Johann Bell, chair of the Recreational Fishing Advisory Council said the new reef will be a welcome addition in both regions.
“This use of recreational fishing fees will benefit both local and visiting fishers of all ages, as well as charter fishing and tackle businesses in Coffs and Ballina,” Professor Bell said.
“We know how popular fishing is right along our coast and the reefs will be a great tourism driver, creating the perfect spot to drop a line.”
NSW Department of Primary Industries will now undertake further detailed assessments and consultation to determine the most suitable locations off Coffs and Ballina for the reefs to be placed.