Fishing and diving rules at Greynurse Shark aggregation sites

Recreational Fishing & Spearfishing

Following the review of Greynurse Shark protection, the Bass Point (Shellharbour) critical habitat site was delisted, and the shape of the critical habitat sites at Magic Point and Green Island were modified by Official Notice in the NSW Government Gazette (PDF 1.1 MB).

Some changes (PDF 34.83 KB) were also made to recreational fishing and spearfishing arrangements at Magic Point, Green Island and Fish Rock critical habitats, and at the North Solitary, South Solitary and Mermaid Reef aggregation sites. The changes as of 1 July 2014 are summarised in the table below.

Site name & legal status Recreational fishing restrictions Spearfishing restrictions
Fish Rock (PDF 185.59 KB)
Critical Habitat (FM Act)
Section 8 closure (FM Act)
Line fishing using bait is prohibited* The taking of fish by spear or speargun is prohibited within 200m of Fish Rock other than: Australian Salmon; Mahi Mahi; Tailor; Cobia; Marlins and Sailfish (all species in the family Istiophoridae); Mackerels and Tunas (all species in the family Scombridae); Wahoo; Trevallies, Yellowtail Kingfish and Rainbow Runner (all species in the family Carangidae)
Green Island (PDF 185.59 KB)
Critical Habitat (FM Act)
Section 8 closure (FM Act)
Line fishing using bait is prohibited* Permitted
Magic Point (PDF 154.38 KB)
Critical Habitat (FM Act)
Section 8 closure (FM Act)
Line fishing using bait is prohibited* Permitted
The Steps / Anemone Bay, North Solitary Island (275.69 KB)
Habitat Protection Zone (MP(ZP))
Section 8 closure (FM Act)
Line fishing using bait is prohibited*
Wire traces are permitted for trolling purposes only within 500 m of North Solitary Island, but only whilst a vessel is underway.
Permitted
Manta Arch, South Solitary Island (PDF 245.17 KB)
Habitat Protection Zone (MP(ZP))
Section 8 closure (FM Act)
Line fishing using bait is prohibited*
Wire traces are permitted for trolling purposes only within 500 m of South Solitary Island, but only whilst a vessel is underway.
Permitted
Mermaid Reef (519.33 KB)
Section 8 closure (FM Act)
Line fishing using bait is prohibited* Permitted
Julian Rocks (PDF 210.21 KB)
Critical Habitat (FM Act) &
Sanctuary Zone (MP(ZP))
Fishing prohibited Fishing prohibited
The Pinnacle (PDF 291.68 KB)
Critical Habitat (FM Act) &
Sanctuary Zone (MP(ZP))
Fishing prohibited Fishing prohibited
Big and Little Seal Rocks (PDF 803.29 KB)
Critical Habitat (FM Act) &
Sanctuary Zone (MP(ZP))
Fishing prohibited Fishing prohibited
Little Broughton Island (PDF 2,551.84 KB)
Critical Habitat (FM Act) &
Sanctuary Zone (MP(ZP))
Fishing prohibited Fishing prohibited
Tollgate Islands (PDF 494.62 KB)
Critical Habitat (FM Act) &
Sanctuary Zone (MP(ZP))
Fishing prohibited Fishing prohibited
Montague Island (PDF 494.62 KB)
Critical Habitat (FM Act) &
Habitat Protection Zone - Restricted (MP(ZP))
1. line fishing permitted 1 May - 31 October
2. between 1 November - 30 April:
a. No fishing with bait;
b. No fishing at anchor;
c. No fishing with a wire trace line;
d. No nets (but landing nets are allowed)
Permitted

Table Notes:
FM Act = Fisheries Management Act 1994;
MP(ZP) = Marine Parks (Zoning Plan) Regulation 1999;
* denotes that soft plastics, artificial baits and vegetable baits are permitted
This table is a summary of fishing restrictions at the listed critical habitat and aggregation sites and is not a defence to prosecution.

Why are some forms of fishing allowed in Greynurse Shark aggregation and critical habitat sites?

Research into Greynurse Shark interaction with fishing gear has shown that Greynurse Sharks are unlikely to interact with certain types of fishing gear such as artificial lures used while spinning, trolling and jigging. In addition, past dietary studies have shown that it is considered highly unlikely that Greynurse Sharks will interact with vegetable based baits.

This approach conserves and shares the fisheries resources of the State for the benefit of present and future generations. In particular the new rules aim to conserve threatened species while still retaining quality recreational fishing opportunities thereby providing social and economic benefits for the wider community of NSW consistent with the objects of theFisheries Management Act 1994.

Greynurse Shark aggregation sites in Commonwealth waters (Pimpernel Rock and the Cod Grounds)

The outcomes from the NSW Review of Greynurse Shark protection do not affect the management arrangements within Commonwealth Marine Reserves at Pimpernel Rock and the Cod Grounds. For more information on management of Commonwealth Reserves, see: Department of the Environment

Commercial Fishing

  • Commercial fisheries are 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.
  • Ocean Trap and Line Export Approval notifications (PDF 101.34 KB) apply at North Solitary Island, South Solitary Island, Fish Rock, Green Island and Magic Point.

Accidentally caught Greynurse Shark

Fishers may accidentally catch a Greynurse Shark while fishing for other species. If you catch a Greynurse Shark, you must release it carefully causing the least possible harm:

  • Bring the shark in as quickly as possible to minimise stress.
  • Try not to lift it out of the water as this can cause internal damage.
  • Cut the line as close to the hooked area as possible. However, if the risk to your own personal safety is significant, please do not attempt to carry out this action.
  • Do not tail rope the shark.

SCUBA Diving

The national Code of Conduct for Diving with Greynurse Sharks applies in all NSW waters including Greynurse Shark critical habitat and aggregation sites.

To comply with the Code of Conduct, all SCUBA divers must not:

  • Conduct night dives in sites identified as habitat critical to the survival of Greynurse Sharks;
  • Touch, feed or interfere with the natural behaviour of Greynurse Sharks;
  • Chase, harass or interrupt the swimming patterns of Greynurse Sharks;
  • Block cave entrances, gutters or entrap Greynurse Sharks;
  • Dive in groups totalling more than ten divers; and
  • Use mechanical apparatus including but not limited to scooters, horns and shark pods.

All divers should comply with this Code of Conduct to avoid penalties including fines up to $110,000 or 2 years imprisonment (or both).

In addition, all commercial SCUBA diving operators must conduct all dives in recognised Greynurse Shark areas under this Code. In addition to the divers' obligations listed above, all commercial operators must:

  • Give a dive brief at each dive site identifying Greynurse Shark habitat areas;
  • Ensure all divers on their charter vessels comply with the Code of Conduct;
  • Participate in scientific research to collect information regarding Greynurse Shark populations and distribution; and
  • Display the Code of Conduct in all dive stores and on board dive boats.

Commercial diving charters and operators are required by law to apply for a permit prior to undertaking any commercial diving activities in NSW marine parks. For applications please refer to the NSW Marine Parks Permit Application Form (PDF 42.35 KB).

Non-compliance of rules

Significant penalties apply for non-compliance of rules, including:

  • $500 on the spot fines apply for taking fish in contravention of a fishing notification. For first offences, maximum penalties of $22,000 and/or 6 months imprisonment apply, and $44,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment, for a second or subsequent offence.
  • $500 on the spot fines apply for interfering with a fish of a threatened species (such as Greynurse Sharks), with maximum penalties of $110,000 and/or 2 years imprisonment. Interfering includes harassing, chasing, tagging, marking or engaging in any activity for the purposes of attracting or repelling a Greynurse Shark.
  • $2,500 on the spot fines apply for harming, buying, selling or possessing a threatened species (such as a Greynurse Shark), with maximum penalties of $220,000 and/or 2 years imprisonment for endangered species.

More information

For further information about the operation of the rules, please Phone: 02 4982 1232 or contact your local District Fisheries Office.

You can report illegal fishing activity by phoning: 1800 043 536 or by completing an online report form

More information on Greynurse Sharks can be found in the DPI Primefact