The offshore artificial reefs program is dedicated to increasing fishing opportunities for recreational fishers by creating new high value fishing locations. The Minister recently announced that a 5th offshore artificial reef will be constructed by the DPI at a site yet to be finalised. Interested regions (fishing clubs and individuals) have been requested to lodge their interest with DPI to have this new reef built in their region. The DPI will look at all broad regions in greater detail before short-listing areas where the new reef may be built prior to more detailed site investigations.
Merimbula applied 18 September, 2015
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The construction of offshore artificial reefs are specially designed huge concrete artificial reef modules. These are lowered from a barge directly to the sea floor. Each module stands 5m high and weighs in excess of 20 tonnes.
The reefs are designed to create new, high quality fish habitat for a wide range of fish species and other aquatic life, and provide a productive fishing location for boat fishers.
The reefs supply habitat for smaller bait fish, which then attract larger target species, including snapper and kingfish.
There are a total of 4 reefs in all. One off Sydney Harbour, another off Botany Bay a new reef was lowered in January in Shoalhaven. Tenders have just closed for the 4th reef in the Port Macquarie area. The minister recently announced a 5th will be built.
Reef Modules being lowered into the water off Shoalhaven.
The reef is located about four kilometres offshore from Shoalhaven Heads, or about six kilometres from Crookhaven Heads.
SUBMISSION ON BEHALF OF ALL MERIMBULA INTERESTS
We understand the Hon Niall Blair MLC, Minister for Primary Industries, has recently announced that a fifth artificial reef will be built off the coast of NSW and that DPI will begin planning of the new reef soon. Interested regions including fishing clubs and individuals have been requested to lodge their interest with DPI to have this new reef built in their region. MBG&LAC has already contacted DPI by Email expressing initial interest.
At a public meeting held at its Club Rooms Spencer Park on 17 September there was unanimous support for a submission for the 5th Artificial Reef to be sited in Merimbula Bay as depicted in Attachment 1. Some key points brought to light at the meeting included:
1. The Sapphire Coast region of the Far South Coast, of which Merimbula is central, has little industry and relies heavily on Tourism.
2. Funding for the Artificial Reef Program comes from the fees paid for Fishing Licences via the Recreational Fishing Fund. Merimbula is the focus for Victorian tourists who pay licence fees to fish in NSW. It is estimated by our local tackle shops that some 85%-90% of licences issued are to visitors. We submit this is a compelling reason to return funds to this region by providing a nearby recreational fishing facility.
3. The rationale for selecting Merimbula Bay is that it is sheltered and accessible to smaller craft that can exit the Merimbula launching ramp beneath the low clearance of the bridge. Access to a sheltered deep water reef structure would greatly enhance recreational fishing and tourism for Merimbula making it comparable to both Bermagui and Eden where larger craft can easily launch into the ocean.
4. It is noteworthy that there are no Artificial Reefs south of Shoalhaven Heads. Merimbula Bay the centre of the Sapphire Coast is without doubt the optimum location for the proposed artificial reef.
We the undersigned offer this submission for the 5th Artificial Reef to be sited in Merimbula Bay. We look forward to your further advice.
Merimbula Chamber of Commerce
P.O.Box 91, Merimbula, NSW 2548
Sapphire Coast Tourism
Anthony Osbourne General Manager
Chair – Australia’s Coastal Wilderness Steering Committee
P.O.Box 89, Merimbula, NSW 2548
NSW Game Fishing Association
Chairman Southern Zone
P.O.Box 730, Nelson Bay, NSW 2315
Secretary 2 Beach St, Merimbula, NSW 2548
Merimbula Divers Lodge
15 Park St. (P.O.Box 699), Merimbula, NSW 2548
Recreational Fishing Saltwater Trust Expenditure Committee
3 Woodland Drv.
Merimbula, NSW 2548
Pambula Fishing Club
Broadwater Park, Pambula, NSW 2549