Fishing “challenge” proposed for Fish Rock

A Northern NSW Coast action group concerned about proposed fishing closures based on the threat to grey nurse shark populations is staging a fishing challenge to prove anglers do not pose a threat to the sharks.  

The Community Action for Fish Rock group has set aside Saturday November 27, weather permitting, for a fishing day on the water at Fish Rock, a popular fishing and dive venue offshore from South West Rocks and one of the sites (along with Green Island) subject to proposed fishing closures.

One of the event’s organisers, Chris Wallis is expecting a minimum of 50 boats to attend the fishing “challenge”. He says the invitation has been extended to NSW Fisheries minister Steve Whan as well as local and interstate media, and various representatives from NSW I&I (Fisheries), NSW Maritime and concerned politicians. A media boat will be provided on the day.  

Fishing will run from dawn to around 11am, and as kingfish are the prime target species in the area, methods typically used to catch them will be employed.

Wallis says that the aim of the challenge was, “to prove that in spite of millions of dollars spent on research to apparently indicate accidental hookings of grey nurse sharks at Fish Rock, that this simply does not happen.”

He told Fisho that a recent meeting of the Hat Head fishing club, attended by around 100 members and representatives of NSW I&I, highlighted the fact that few anglers have ever hooked grey nurse sharks while fishing. When the question was put to the meeting, “three hands went up [from the 100 in attendance] and only one was hooked at Fish Rock … around thirty years ago,” Wallis said. 

Wallis said the action group is prepared to conduct the Fish Rock exercise as many times as it takes to convince Minister Whan that the proposed lockouts are unnecessary. At the time of writing Wallis said he hadn’t a response from the Minister’s office or other goverment departments on whether or not they would attend on November 27.   

Anyone interested in participating should register their intention by emailing details of their boat (name and/or registration number) to: or leave their details via 0427 013139. For more info call Chris Wallis on 0427 686015 or Les Palmer on 0427 674354.

In the event of bad weather a protest rally will take place at the South West Rocks boat ramp. 

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