NSW Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair announces a $1.1M artificial reef for the Tweed Coast alongside Tweed MP Geoff Provest.
NSW Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair announces a $1.1M artificial reef for the Tweed Coast alongside Tweed MP Geoff Provest. Aisling Brennan

Lack of consultation over artificial reef concerns fishers

A LACK of consultation with the Tweed fishing industry over the new $1.1 million artificial reef has left local stakeholders spitting chips.

While the news was welcomed by fishing charter companies, Reel Fishn Charters skipper John Ede said he was disappointed the government hadn't spoken with stakeholders about the reef prior to Friday's announcement.

"I'm excited for our area to be given this opportunity, but we're insulted about the way we've been treated and the lack of consultation,” Mr Ede said.

"We're getting something which we're very excited about, but (the government) needs to listen to what we have to say.”

With 20 years of experience fishing the Tweed Coast, Mr Ede said the government would be foolish not to speak with him and other local fishers about where the reef should be placed.

"We know the area better than anyone, but we're not scientists,” he said, referring to reports scientists are looking at deploying the reef to the north of Cook Island.

"They've already made their minds up where they want to put it.

"The north side is okay, but the south side is a more calmer area.

"We cop a massive amount of northerly (winds).

"If you've got a reef on the south side (of Cook Island) the reef's protected from the northerly winds.

"The big swell that comes from the south hits Byron and Kingscliff before it hits us.”

Mr Ede said proper consultation would allow for a reef to be created that would provide value not only to fishers but also divers and school students studying marine science.

The reef is expected to be deployed by early 2019, with consultation expected to start later this year.



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