Batemans Marine Park is one of six such reserves in New South Wales.
It was established by the state government in 2006 and covers 85,000ha (330sq.ml), extending from Murramarang Beach, near us, at Bawley Point in the north to Wallaga Lake in the south.
It stretches to three miles offshore and includes all the estuaries, creeks, rivers and lakes (except Nargal Lake) to the limit of tidal influence.
Trawling, long lining and dredging are prohibited from the entire park and some other forms of commercial fishing are also limited to protect the region’s biodiversity.
Unlike marine parks in other states, the Batemans Marine Park puts very small restrictions on recreational fishing. So a new legal size and bag limit sign for all fish (and invertebrates) has gone up at our local boat launching ramp.
I had no idea there were so many fish species in the area.
Seeing the great white shark mentioned as a threatened and protected species must raise a few eyebrows within the local surfing community however.
That species was suspected of killing a surfer not too long ago at Byron Bay on the New South Wales north coast.
But I guess in the end we are in their territory when we enter the ocean. Thankfully in my 40 odd years of surfing I had only three close up and personal encounters with sharks which were three too many. How many others I didn't know about is, of course, another question.
So with the warmer weather approaching, it might be time to break out the fishing gear and head for the beach when the tides are right, the surf is not too big and some nice gutters have formed.
Also the two small islands, Brush and Belowla, just offshore from two of our beaches have been declared protected seabird breeding sites. These are home to a small colony of fairy penguins among many others.
Setting foot on these islands could cost you a substantial amount of money.