Sun. May 26th, 2024

Anglers across the region who like to pop down to the coast for a quick fish will soon benefit from two new offshore artificial reefs at Coffs Harbour and Ballina.

The new artificial reefs, due for completion in 2024, are part of the Government’s commitment to drive sustainable recreational fishing in NSW.  Artificial reefs are used world-wide to enhance fishing opportunities, and work by creating additional habitat for local aquatic organisms and fish. There are already nine artificial reefs along the NSW coast, including a popular one at Port Macquarie.

Underwater vision of fish at the Port Macquarie artificial reef. (Video: NSW DPI Fisheries)

Minister for Agriculture, Dugald Saunders, said the Offshore Artificial Reefs will provide high-quality fish habitats in a big win for recreational anglers. 

“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 Spotted Mackerel, 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,” Mr Saunders said. 

“It’s fantastic news for both of these regions and is another example of how recreational fishing fees are being put to work.” 

Coffs Harbour and Ballina are the latest regions to be chosen through an expression of interest process that began in 2021. Factors considered in choosing the locations for artificial reefs 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. 

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