Public have say on grey nurse shark zones

PROPOSED changes to Grey Nurse Shark critical habitats are underway, with a report detailing the plans going on public exhibition this week.

Department of Primary Industries Director Aquaculture Conservation and Marine Parks, Bill Talbot, said the report is part of the implementation of a package of measures announced in September following the review of Grey Nurse Shark protection.

“Several changes have been made to recreational fishing and scuba diving arrangements at Grey Nurse Shark critical habitat and other aggregation sites,” Mr Talbot said.

“It is important we get the balance right between protecting this important species while still retaining recreational fishing access.”

The changes include:

· Delisting the critical habitat site at Bass Point, near Shellharbour, and
· Amending the shape of the critical habitat sites at Green Island near South West Rocks, and Magic Point in Sydney.

“Bass Point has been recommended for delisting by DPI scientists as it provides little if any protection for Grey Nurse Sharks as they no longer use the site,” Mr Talbot said.

“Critical habitat sites at Green Island and Magic Point will be amended to exclude waters within 50 m of the mainland shore.”

Mr Talbot said these changes will further reduce social impacts associated with the new rules.

“Recreational fishers are particularly keen to retain access for land based fishing for species such as bream, tailor, mulloway, blackfish and drummer,” he said.

“Sydney anglers have also been concerned that restrictions at Magic Point may lead to anglers fishing at alternative, more dangerous rock platforms.

“The implementation of these changes highlights the NSW Government’s commitment to finding harmony between fishers and our fisheries resource.”

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Magic Point is a popular rock fishing spot on the Sydney coast. Pic: John Newbery

Copies of the report are available from DPI head office, regional fisheries Offices and on the DPI website  Written submissions from the public are invited on the report. Submissions close on Friday 14 December.

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