SPEAK UP: Coffs Coast could be in line for the state’s fifth artificial reef.
SPEAK UP: Coffs Coast could be in line for the state’s fifth artificial reef. Contributed

Speak up if you want an artificial reef

RECREATIONAL fishers wanting to see the state's fifth artificial reef created off the Coffs Coast should speak up.

Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair recently announced $13 million would be invested in 63 recreational fishing projects from Albury to Grafton and in Sydney's waterways, with the funding provided through the Recreational Fishing Trust.

This funding for fishing projects will include nearly $1 million for an artificial reef off the coast of New South Wales.

"We want to hear from the community and hear from the recreational fishers as to where that reef should go," Mr Blair said.

"Because the money that is going toward that reef comes from recreational fishing fees we believe we need to consult with the rec fishing sector to work out where it goes and that's exactly what we are going to do.

"If rec fishers in this area want the reef off Coffs then we need to hear from them, because it's their money and it goes back to their benefit.

"So we want to hear from them and we will also be reaching out to recreational fishers in this area."

Mr Blair said artificial reefs already constructed off Sydney and Shoalhaven Heads are proving popular with recreational fishers and there are two more planned for Port Macquarie and Port Botany.

The Sydney reef has now matured into complex fish habitat for a wide range of bottom-dwelling and oceanic fish species such as kingfish, snapper and mulloway.

In New South Wales recreational fishing is a $1.6 billion industry, which employs about 14,000 people.

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