New look at marine park zoning

PIECE OF CAKE: Wayne Eggins, from Mayfield, with the 3.5kg salmon he hooked in Lake Macquarie.
PIECE OF CAKE: Wayne Eggins, from Mayfield, with the 3.5kg salmon he hooked in Lake Macquarie.

MINISTER for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson has backed up a pre-election Coalition promise to revisit marine park management in the state by releasing a discussion paper and announcing a period of public consultation on future arrangements.

The government wants to run an audit on the effectiveness of current marine park zoning and grey nurse shark management.

It intends to use feedback from the audit and public consultation to guide future decisions and possibly revoke some earlier decisions.

Copies of the discussion paper are available on the NSW DPI website at and from local Fisheries and Marine Park offices.

Information sessions will be held throughout NSW in July, with details to be advertised in local papers.

The public consultation period will close on Friday, August 26.

Rethink welcomed

BRENT ‘‘Hammer’’ Hancock, from Nelson Bay Tackleworld, welcomed the government announcement.

‘‘It was all political when it was first implemented,’’ Hammer said yesterday.

‘‘There was consultation, but they consulted the wrong people. We need management, but we need to ask the right questions and look after people who use the resource.

‘‘The marine park took out a fair part of Broughton Island, you were only allowed to bait fish at Cabbage Tree Island, and it also got the back end of Fingal Island.

‘‘These are accessible areas for guys with smaller boats and there was public outrage about the closure.

‘‘They need to look at it again, and why there are sanctuary zones in those particular areas.

‘‘Grey nurse sharks were cited as justification for the sanctuary zones around Seal Rocks and Broughton Island.

‘‘But there’s no hard evidence; no one knows exactly the patterns of grey nurse sharks or numbers.’’

Bream are biting

A FLUSH of fresh water has brought the bream on in Nelson Bay.

Rowan Foulsby, from Castaway Estuary Charters, reported he had four trips over the weekend and got some really nice bream up to 42cm on soft and hard-body lures.

Unfortunately there are a lot of leatherjackets about.

There’s been some smaller jew up to 8kg caught around Middle Island and the wreck at Salamander Bay.

Salmon are providing good fun on light tackle, with smaller five-gram metal lures working best.

Anglers have been getting snapper around the back of Broughton and off Mungo Brush and down around Fishermans Bay.

With offshore winds predicted this weekend, and following on from a big swell, it may be worth a shot in close.

Out wider, long-liners have been picking up yellowfin tuna in 300 to 400fathoms.

Awash with salmon

IT’S salmon city in Swansea Channel, according to ‘‘Jumpin’’ Johnny Frith, from Fisherman’s Warehouse at Marks Point.

Salts Bay is teeming with the beggars. Likewise Blacksmiths Beach.

Jumpin’ Johnny reports they’ve penetrated into the lake as far as Marmong Point.

‘‘Once again there are a few tailor with the salmon, and bream are feeding underneath the schools at night,’’ Jumpin’ reported.

‘‘Run-in tide for best results.’’

Rock perches in demand

COMPETITION is hot for rocks at this time of year as luderick come on strong.

Lucy’s Wall in the channel has been firing, as have perches all the way down south to Catherine Hill Bay and along the rock platforms north to Nobbys Beach.

As usual, exercise maximum care in slippery conditions, and always keep an eye on the swell.

‘‘Don’t forget, no one owns any part of the foreshore, so be courteous and respect someone else’s space,’’ Johnny advises.

‘‘First in, best dressed I say, so don’t forget many of the ‘old blokes’ might have been berleying for half an hour before you arrive and that’s why they upset easily sometimes.’’

Swansea Bridge has also been plagued by leatherjackets.

Wrestling a whopper

A WAREHOUSE customer known as ‘‘John the local jeweller’’ nailed a gem of a jewie in a secret location in the lake through the week.

The fish weighed in at 10kg and was hooked on a five-inch jerk shad.

‘‘It took three-quarters of an hour to land on six-pound braid after his mate kept telling him it was a stingray,’’ Johnny said. ‘‘Just goes to show, you can’t trust your mates, can you?’’

Nice little earner

ELEVEN-YEAR-OLD Zen Sandford is richer for the experience after going fishing with his old man Mick and brother Jake, 16, and hooking a handy-sized flathead at Warners Bay using pilchards for bait.

Mick took Zen to the weigh-in on Sunday at the Royal Crown Hotel, Dudley, presumably for the local fishing club, and Zen pocketed $10 for his fish.

Eye to history

DES Clerke, of Tingira Heights, is the winner of the historic photo from the Maritime Centre featured in last Friday’s column.

Readers were asked to identify the location, and Des rightly said it was the wall of the stormwater drain at Lee Wharf.

‘‘I spent many days catching poddy mullet in the drain,’’ Des said.