Fishermen on notice

SUMMER is one of the busiest times of the year for recreational fishing along the Clarence Coast, but fishermen have been warned.

Many of the most popular fishing spots along the coast are near or inside the Solitary Islands Marine Park, so fishermen need to be aware of where they can and can’t drop a line.

A spokesperson for the Marine Parks Authority said the Solitary Islands Marine Park was a multiple-use park, which meant fishing and other recreational activities were permitted.

However, a small percentage of the park was zoned as sanctuary so no fishing or collecting was permitted within that area.

“Fishing and collecting in a sanctuary attracts an on-the-spot fine of $500 so it’s a really good idea to pick up a zoning guide from one of the many accommodation and information centres, general stores and fishing supply outlets around the marine parks,” the MPA spokesperson said.

But according to Grafton recreational fisherman Nick Inmon, it is not always easy to know exactly where the boundaries of the sanctuary zones are.

Nick, who has been fishing for years offshore from Minnie Water and Sandon, said because there were no marker buoys around the sanctuary zones, it was hard to tell when he was in or out of one.

“I was out there with a mate trying to fish on the edge of the Pinnacle and we thought we were outside the sanctuary zone by 50 metres,” Nick said.

“But Fisheries came up to us and said we were actually 50 metres inside.

“If local boys like us can’t work it out, how will a bloke who comes fishing, from say Mudgee for the day, know exactly where he can and can’t fish?”

The sanctuary zone at North Solitary Island was clearly marked by buoys, something Nick would like to see happen off Minnie Water.

Zoning guides can be seen at .

The Solitary Islands Marine Park stretches over 75km from Muttonbird Island to the Sandon River and Plover Island.

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