Sunday night is the deadline for recreational fishers in the Sydney region to comment on the Hawkesbury Shelf Marine Bioregion Assessment
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These are the 59 fishing sites Sydney recreational anglers could be locked out of.
The NSW Government Marine Estate Management Authority (MEMA) is currently reviewing the conservation management of the waters around Sydney. One of the things they are looking at is whether anglers should be locked out of up to 59 popular recreational fishing areas

Here are the 59 sites, from a map in MEMA's discussion paper. The yellow triangles are 15 sites selected for assessment by MEMA at the start of the process. The black dots are 44 additional sites, added after community consultation. A total of 59 sites that anglers could be locked out of.

Email the NSW Government's Marine Estate Management Authority and tell them you are opposed to any more meaningless lockouts from your favourite fishing spots. Tell them there are better ways than recreational fishing lockouts to protect the marine environment. Emails must be sent by Sunday 8 May.

So what are some of the alternatives to recreational fishing lockouts?

Stop pollution getting into our waterways, especially run-off from urban drains and sewage. Marine sanctuaries and marine parks are not immune from pollution, storm water runoff, microplastics and introduced pest species. All these are far more devastating than well-regulated recreational fishing. And Sydney Water is still pumping toxic sewage straight into the ocean through the deep water ocean outfalls and allowing untreated urban drain overflow into many locations within the Harbour.

Work with recreational anglers to develop more cooperative management of our marine resources. Effective bag and size limits and seasonal closures to protect breeding aggregations will always be accepted by anglers.

Increase monitoring and enforcement of regulations that affect the marine environment, including pollution, habitat destruction and commercial and recreational fishing transgressions.

Maintain safe and easy recreational fishing access for the young, elderly and disabled by removing places like Clifton Gardens, North Harbour, Bare Island and Long Reef from the Assessment process.

Consider more realistically the small threat that recreational fishing poses compared to other threatening processes such as pollution, foreshore development, sewage outfalls, cruise ships and some methods of destructive commercial fishing.

Increase engagement and communication with Sydney's enormous CALD community ("culturally and linguistically diverse") to better explain fishing regulations, pollution and other issues that help create a sustainable marine environment.

Give better consideration to spearfishers. It is estimated that they take less than 0.1% of the total fisheries catch, yet under the 59 locations being assessed, they risk losing a number of important and safe locations such as Long Reef, Magic Point, Long Bay and Boat Harbour. For Illawarra spearfishers, they risk losing the entire Royal National Park coastline, the Northern Illawarra, the Five Islands group and Windang Island.

Declare Sydney Harbour a Recreational Fishing Haven to give it better protection from commercial fishing and environmental harm.

Click here if you want to know more about the details of the Government's Hawkesbury Shelf Marine Bioregion Assessment .

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