Coffs Harbour Report: June 2010 by Mark Kallman

Conditions

I must apologise for dropping the ball on the article for May but you did not miss much. We should have been enjoying fairly mild conditions with clean warm seas as the air temperature dropped as we approached Autumn. We had some vicious southerly fronts come up the coast and only now toward the end of June does the situation seem to have reverted to what is the norm. Gentle westerlies keep the sea calm and it is relatively clear after having seen all that southerly action. Unfortunately the 'Couta and wahoo are long gone and the sea is really cold.

wahoo taken in May by Geoff FlanaganFish

Several good kob have been seen and some landed. Most of these fish are right up against the side. A diving friend got a 20kg+ fish recently at Norwest Island and followed that up with a 15kg cuttlefish. That is a lot of calamari to get through. I dived some of my headland spots a few days ago with the express intention of shooting some kob as well as collecting some crayfish and perlemoen. There were lots of kob but I kept misjudging where to dive before getting into the gutter. You really need to have your belly flat on the sand under the foamies when you hunt these fish. Lots of kob charged past but none impaled themselves on my spear. John Featherstone found a piece of quality reef that has been overlooked and took some great pearl perch and some thumper crayfish. He had great difficulty in finding crayfish that were small enought to catch legally.

Solitary Islands Marine Park (SIMP)

The SIMP revue is taking place at the moment and to say that we are frustrated with some of the poor and in some cases blatantly fraudulant quasi-scientific claims in support of more closures would be an understatement. Our club has gone to great lengths to make sensible and strongly motivated presentations in defence of our stance. We got everyone on board and even had the environmentalists supporting our argument. In the interim it appears that some bureaucrat changed the presentation to suit his own agenda and submitted that instead. A great deal of research that has been presented to support the claim that there are only 300 Grey Nurse Sharks off the NSW coast has been successfully challenged and conflicting research indicates that a more accurate count is at least 3000+ GNS (identified with photos, you cannot argue with that). The other load of nonsense suggested in defence of sanctuary areas is that they provide a source of additional fish to the surrounding environment. This would only be true if the surrounding population was so denuded that there was room for more individuals. Seems we all have similar problems to deal with.