The Central Coast has officially been announced as the new home for an Offshore Artificial Reef.
Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders said the location was chosen after an extensive expression of interest (EOI) process that received almost 1,200 submissions from the recreational fishing community.
“The sheer volume of submissions is a testament to how popular these reefs are in providing high-quality fishing experiences, it’s fantastic news for anglers and local businesses that have struggled over the last two years,” Mr Saunders said.
“This announcement is part of our commitment to promoting the sustainable growth of recreational fishing in NSW.”
The project is the latest addition to a series of artificial reefs put in place across the state, spanning from Tweed Heads to Merimbula, including one that was recently announced in Forster.
“These reefs provide a cost-effective method to improve fishing practices and drive economic growth, while also providing significant ecological and productivity benefits.”
Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast Adam Crouch welcomed the decision, saying it will go a long way for tourism and the local community.
“I want to personally thank the hundreds of Central Coast locals who supported my petition for an offshore artificial reef. This was a significant factor when I was lobbying the Minister on our regions behalf and I look forward to working with our finishing community to identify a location.”
The reef will be a marine reserve similar to the decommissioned HMAS Adelaide, which was sunk at Avoca Beach in 2011.
“Our coastline boasts some of the most vibrant ocean environments in NSW and the ex-HMAS Adelaide is a fantastic example of the remarkable transformation that a single site can have on the surrounding area,” Mr Crouch said.
“The ship is quite rightly designated as a marine reserve, but I want to ensure that local fishers have a similar type of reef to enjoy.
“Creating a million-dollar Offshore Artificial Reef will be an amazing tourism driver, while also providing a benefit to thousands of keen local fishos across a range of ages.”
The artificial reef program is funded through the Recreational Fishing Trust, which is made up of recreational fishing licence fees.
The NSW Government will now undertake further detailed assessments and consult stakeholders to determine the most suitable location off Terrigal.
For more information on the NSW artificial reefs program, visit the NSW Department of Primary Industries website.