Be aware of Coffin Bay Sanctuary Zones this Kingfish season
The Yellowtail kingfish have made their annual spring migration back to Coffin Bay where they are thought to spawn in its protected, shallow bays.
Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula Marine Parks Regional Coordinator Shelley Paull said the seasonal phenomena is a remarkable sight, with large schools of kingfish cruising through the shallow waters and occasionally breaking the surface.
“Kellidie Bay has been the traditional fishing spot to try and hook a big kingfish, but other parts of Coffin Bay are also becoming better known. It is important for anglers to understand that there are six sanctuary zones in Coffin Bay, which were implemented in October 2014.
These are the Kellidie Bay (eastern side of bay), Mount Dutton Bay, Mount Dutton Creek, Horse Peninsula, Yangie Bay and Eely Point Sanctuary Zones.Fishers may continue to fish for kingfish in Kellidie Bay and other parts of Coffin Bay, just not within the sanctuary zones. This allows the kingfish to go about their breeding activity with less disturbance,” she said.
“Fishers also need to be aware that if they hook a fish up outside the sanctuary zone, they are not permitted to follow it into the sanctuary zone to land it, as no part of the fishing activity can occur within the zone. They are also not permitted to try and push or herd the kingfish out of the sanctuary zone using their boat,” she said.
Sanctuary zones were designed by the local community to protect representative samples of the biologically unique habitats and ecosystems within Coffin Bay.
The Kellidie Bay Sanctuary Zone not only protects an area where kingfish and snapper are thought to spawn, but also protects mudflats and intertidal seagrass beds which are important habitat for an array of fish species including whiting, flathead and flounder.
Dumpling squid, octopus and prawns inhabit the sandy bottoms and seagrass beds of the bay and eagle rays have observed courting and birthing in the shallows.
“People are welcome to enter the sanctuary zone in a boat, anchor up and observe and admire the diverse marine life in this area, but please leave the fishing to outside the sanctuary zone. By protecting the important habitats and ecosystems within Coffin Bay we are ensuring a healthy productive marine environment in the future, and that benefits everyone, including anglers,” she said.
Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula rangers regularly patrol the sanctuary zones and the local community feels very strongly about people abiding by the sanctuary zone rules.
For help locating sanctuary zones please visit www.environment.sa.gov.au/marineparks/maps-and-coordinates
For a printed version pick up a free ‘Recreational Fishing in SA Marine Parks’ brochure available for tackle shops in Port Lincoln and general stores in Coffin Bay.
To download the free SA Recreational Fishing Guide App as a helpful guide on the water by visiting www.environment.sa.gov.au/marineparks/maps-and-coordinates/fishing-app
For more information on sanctuary zones in marine parks visit www.landscape.sa.gov.au/ep/coast-and-marine/marine-parks or phone Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula 8688 3111.
To report a marine parks offence call the Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula Duty Ranger phone on 8688 3223 or Fishwatch on 1800 065 522 (24 hours).