New fishing and diving rules at Grey Nurse Shark aggregation sites
Following the review of Grey Nurse Shark protection, several changes have been made to recreational fishing and scuba diving arrangements at Grey Nurse Shark critical habitat and other aggregation sites. A summary of the changes is presented below. For further information please see the Q&A page.
- The use of bait by recreational fishers in connection with line fishing methods is prohibited within Grey Nurse Shark critical habitat at:
- In addition, the use of bait by recreational fishers in connection with line fishing methods is prohibited within 200 m of specified Grey Nurse Shark aggregation sites at:
- Note that soft plastics, artificial baits and vegetable baits such as green weed may continue to be used.
- All remaining critical habitat sites occur within marine parks and the recreational fishing rules at these sites are set out in the relevant marine park zoning plans. This includes:
- Julian Rocks (www.mpa.nsw.gov.au/cbmp.html)
- The Pinnacle (www.mpa.nsw.gov.au/psglmp.html)
- Big and Little Seal Rocks (www.mpa.nsw.gov.au/psglmp.html)
- Little Broughton Island (www.mpa.nsw.gov.au/psglmp.html)
- Tollgate Islands hyperlink to (www.mpa.nsw.gov.au/bmp.html)
- Montague Island hyperlink to (www.mpa.nsw.gov.au/bmp.html)
- The Bass Point critical habitat site will be delisted in accordance with recommendations from NSW DPI scientists and consideration will be given to realigning the shape of the Magic Point critical habitat site to maintain consistency with other sites and further reduce impacts on shore based fishing. In addition the buffer-zone regulations that surrounded critical habitat sites will also be revoked. The regulation amendments will occur progressively over the ensuing months and will include public notification and consultation.
- All other recreational fishing activities will remain unaffected by the changes, including spinning and trolling with fly or artificial lure, use of soft plastics, jigging, crabbing, hand gathering and spearfishing (other than at Fish Rock – see below). However all other existing applicable regulatory controls continue to apply at each site.
- Penalties of up to $22,000 or 6 months imprisonment (or both) for a first offence or $44 000 or 12 months imprisonment (or both) for second and subsequent offences apply for non-compliance with the new recreational fishing rules.
- A 12 month compliance advisory period will operate following the introduction of the new rules. During this period formal cautions will be issued for first offences. Second and subsequent offences will be subject to standard compliance action.
- Existing spearfishing rules will not change other than at Fish Rock.
- The existing regulations that have been in place since 31 July 1998 on the taking of fish within 500 m of the mean high water mark of Fish Rock will be reduced to align with the critical habitat of 200 m
- The taking of any fish by spear or speargun is prohibited within the critical habitat of Grey Nurse Shark at Fish Rock other than:
- Australian salmon
- Mahi Mahi
- Marlins and Sailfish (all species in the family Istiophoridae)
- Mackerels and Tunas (all species in the family Scombridae)
- Trevallies, Yellowtail Kingfish and Rainbow Runner (all species in the family Carangidae)
- These rules predated the declaration of critical habitat and were implemented as part of resource allocation agreements between spearfishers and scuba divers, and were not related to Grey Nurse Shark protection.
- All other existing applicable regulatory controls continue to apply.
- Penalties of up to $11 000 apply for non-compliance with the spearfishing rules.
- There are no changes to commercial fishing rules arising from the review of Grey Nurse Shark protection.
Commercial fisheries will continue to be managed in accordance with relevant Fishery Management Strategies, the Fisheries Management Act 1994, Fisheries Management (General) Regulation 2010, and relevant fisheries management share management plan regulation.
- The existing Ocean Trap and Line Export Approval notifications continue to apply at North Solitary Island, South Solitary Island, Fish Rock, Green Island and Magic Point.
- The existing critical habitat diving regulations will be replaced by the national Code of Conduct for Diving with Grey Nurse Sharks.
- The Code of Conduct for Diving with Grey Nurse Sharks is voluntary however scuba divers should be aware that significant penalties exist for interfering with fish of a threatened species, including Grey Nurse Sharks.
- Interfering includes harassing, chasing, tagging, marking or engaging in any activity for the purposes of attracting or repelling Grey Nurse Shark, including activities such as hand-feeding and use of shark repelling devices.
- The penalties for interfering with Grey Nurse Sharks include fines of up to $110,000 or 2 years imprisonment (or both).
- The Code of Conduct for Diving with Grey Nurse Sharks applies at all Grey Nurse Shark aggregation sites in NSW waters, and applies to recreational and charter diving operators.
Frequently asked questions
For further information and answers to some frequently asked questions about the new changes, please visit the Q&A page.