Fishing closure extended around damaged aquaculture farm
The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) will extend the temporary fishing closure in waters bound by the Marine Aquaculture Research Lease at Providence Bay, in Port Stephens, from where around 20,000 fish escaped last month.
The closure, under Section 8 of the Fisheries Management Act 1994, will take place until 28 February 2018, reported DPI’s Deputy Director General Fisheries, Dr Geoff Allan.
“The closure was initially put in place due to the volume of boating traffic leading up to the long weekend, which created hazardous conditions within the research lease and hampered repair and fish recapture efforts,” Allan explained.
“Recovery efforts are still underway and an extension to the closure will allow these works to be completed safely. Despite advice, some fishers have been navigating too close to the mooring system and sea pen infrastructure, especially with divers in the water,” he added.
The pilot project that Huon Aquaculture is developing in partnership with the DPI, aims to assess the viability and sustainability of yellowtail kingfish in sea pens. One of the objectives was to investigate the structural integrity and sustainability of current sea cage infrastructure and their suitability in the environment of New South Wales waters.
Damage and incident research was carried out, and the results have been provided to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment and the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Energy.
The controversial farm was destroyed in rough seas last January, and around 20,000 kingfish escaping from their pens, which were described as “fortresses”.
The DPI said that a summary of the findings will be made available to the public this week and that recommendations arising from the incident review will be taken into account in modifying current management practices.
So far, it is estimated that more than 5,000 farmed yellowtail kingfish have already been recovered by Huon Aquaculture.
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