Popularity of rec fishing in Harbour set to grow

VETERAN Fishing World writer John Newbery has been fishing Sydney Harbour for over 50 years and reckons the famous waterway has never looked so good.

Newbery, Fisho’s environment editor, featured in a piece in last weekend’s Sydney Morning Herald and has been targeting the likes of blackfish (luderick), bream and drummer in Sydney Harbour for as long as he can remember. He says he’s noticed an upturn in fishing due to the absence of commercial fishing and other factors.  

“Sydney Harbour is the best estuary for fishing on the NSW coast and it’s more productive now than it’s been in the past 55 years,” he says. “I’ve got longitudinal studies to prove it, catch diaries going back to the ’60s, but they’re not peer-reviewed,” he told the Herald.

With a recent survey showing Sydney anglers account for almost a third of the $3.42 billion recreational fishing dollars generated in NSW each year, the Harbour is a vital long term destination for many of the city’s anglers.

According to numbers from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are more than 490,000 adult recreational fishers in the Sydney region. During school holidays around 100,000 kids might also wet a line.

Little wonder a recent NSW Labor announcement and lobbying by conservation groups to make the Harbour a marine park has Sydney anglers hot under the collar.

With the NSW Recreational Fishing Alliance revealing 60 per cent of the iconic waterway is already off limits to anglers, campaigns to officially declare Sydney Harbour a Recreational Fishing Haven are now well underway.

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