Merimbula could hear within a couple of months whether it has been successful in its bid for an artificial reef, to be placed offshore just past the headland.
The possibility of getting an artificial reef from the Department of Primary Industries, Fisheries Department has been pursued by the Merimbula Big Game and Lakes Angling Club (MBG&LAC) who believe it would make a substantial contribution to recreational fishing tourism in the area.
MBG&LAC committee member, Chris Young said that Merimbula sells about 8000 NSW fishing licences to Victorian fishers who visit the area each year. However he said that because of the bridge, only smaller boats could visit but an artificial reef would bring a greater variety of fish closer inshore because it would act as a fish nursery.
MBG&LAC committee member, Lindon Thompson is a member of the NSW Fisheries fish care program and said that it would attract more people and give those with smaller boats the chance to fish like the big boats. “This could be a really good thing for Merimbula especially in a couple of years,” he said. The offshore artificial reefs program is dedicated to increasing fishing opportunities for recreational fishers by creating new high value fishing locations.
In order to pursue the possibility of having an artificial reef, Mr Young and the committee made a submission to the Fisheries Department for Merimbula to have the fifth such reef.
However the submission has caused for consternation, Mr Young said.
“Our submission was so powerful, it caused consternation. The people who had come second in the last round automatically thought they would get the reef this time but we have been told that the quality of Merimbula’s submission was so good that it caused a major rethink and that has slowed the process down,” Mr Young said.
A Fisheries Department spokeswoman told the News Weekly that Fisheries had been conducting an analysis of all potential port locations for an artificial reef and that an announcement could be expected “soon”.
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