The NSW South Coast is set to be one of the state’s premier fishing destinations, with the NSW Government today announcing a new offshore artificial reef at Eurobodalla, with Merimbula on the far south coast already set to see its new artificial reef go into the water later this year. Premier Gladys Berejiklian and the Member for Bega, Andrew Constance said the installations of these reefs are a major win for local fishers, businesses and tourism. Ms Berejiklian said on the South Coast alone, the recreational fishing sector helps generate about 1800 full-time jobs and around $395 million for the NSW economy each year. “I know local fishers have been advocating passionately for the delivery of a new reef in Batemans Bay so I am very pleased to be here today to announce that $500,000 in funding has been secured from the Regional Growth Fund. “This funding will complement $600,000 committed from the Recreational Fishing Trust, which is made up of recreational fishing fees.” Mr Constance said this is a great example of the NSW Government and the Bega community working together to deliver a major win not just locally but for people everywhere. “Both the reefs will cement the South Coast’s position as one of the best holiday destinations in NSW,” Mr Constance said. “I can’t wait to see both locals and visitors embracing the new attraction and hitting the water for some fantastic fishing, and the opportunity to snag larger trophy species including snapper and Yellowtail Kingfish. “Creating a reef that supports such a diverse fishing environment will ultimately lead to an increase in recreational fishers travelling to the area, to wet a line and try their luck.” The Eurobodalla and soon to be constructed Merimbula reef are only two of a number of offshore artificial reefs to be deployed over the next three years. Reefs are already deployed in Sydney, Shoalhaven, Port Macquarie and Port Hacking. The reefs use a complex design to create intricate habitats for a variety of fish species and marine life, which deflects currents to create eddies and upwellings. They are non-polluting and are capable of withstanding a one-in-100 year storm event. These reefs will provide high quality fishing experiences for current and future generations of fishers for many decades to come. Consultation with the community on the location of the Eurobodalla reef will begin shortly. Earlier this year Adam Martin and Max Castle, members of the Eurobodalla Recreational Fishing Action Group, sought State government support for the placement of artificial reefs off the shire’s coast. Andrew Constance, Member for Bega asked the community to show support for construction and funding of an artificial reef for Eurobodalla by digitally signing a petition and for those unable, to complete a petition form. The online petition achieved excellent results with over 1100 names in support of the artificial reef. Andrew Constance then presented the petition to the Hon. Niall Blair Minister for Primary Industries to assist in his consideration for funding. Mr Constance said in his support of the project that the Eurobodalla Recreational Fishing Action Group (ERFAG) had prepared an excellent submission requesting an Offshore Artificial Reef be situated off the coast of the Eurobodalla between Batemans Bay and Moruya.
Adam Martin, President of the Tomakin Fishing Club, Max Castle, President of the Tuross Head Fishing Club, and the many ERFAG members are to be commended as they were the driving force behind this proposal gaining the State Government's support for what will be an amazing piece of infrastructure.
Above: At depth of 45 metres, the Port Macquarie offshore artificial reef is the deepest reef built by DPI - Fisheries to date and 6 months after construction large numbers of schooling Spotted Bigeye (Priacanthus macracanthus) are colonising the reef.