Illegal fishing at Cape Byron

NSW Fisheries officers are pleading with fishos to do the right thing at the Cape Byron MP Bream Hole.

Every year officers at Cape Byron Marine Park (CBMP) receive numerous reports of alleged illegal fishing activity taking place within the small area that is declared ‘Sanctuary Zone’ at Lennox Head – also known as the Bream Hole.

The CBMP is a small Marine Park by Australian standards but the aquatic values that it seeks to protect and preserve are important by world standards. Over 72% of the entire marine park which comprises 22,275 ha, is open to both recreational fishing and many forms of commercial fishing. The area of rocky foreshore reserved for conservation around Lennox Head at the southern end of the park is unique with a moat formation known locally as “The Bream Hole”.

The Bream Hole has a very high species diversity due to a variety of micro-habitats such as; crevices, holes, ledges, pools and overhangs. The moat formation is a geological structure that provides for significant tidal wash, yet only limited wave energy and The Bream Hole is the only rocky shore of its type in the Tweed Moreton Bio-region. No other inshore reef provides similar physiography and water conditions or supports such a diverse representation of temperate and tropical biota.

Despite the fact that special management arrangements are in place to cater for some recreational line fishing and for recreational fishers with special needs on either side of the Bream Hole Sanctuary Zone, we still get far too many fishers who are ignorant of the rules and who blatantly disregard them.

A number of offenders were caught during that 2021-22 financial year illegally fishing within the Bream Hole Sanctuary Zone with significant penalties issued. Repeat offenders may also be prosecuted.

The Sanctuary zones are well signposted and it is the responsibility of each fisher to be familiar with the areas that are closed to all forms of fishing and collecting. Information on Marine Park Zones is available on the FishSmart app or on the DPI Fisheries website.

Please report incidents of alleged illegal fishing activity to the NSW DPI Fishers Watch service by calling 1800 043 536 or report online.

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