A veteran angler says the Illawarra would be an ideal location for multiple future Offshore Artificial Reefs.
Illawarra fishers have been encouraged to submit expressions of interest (EOI) for the NSW Government's next Offshore Artificial Reef to be deployed off a beach in the region.
The new reefs will add to those already installed off Sydney, South Sydney, the Shoalhaven, Port Macquarie, Merimbula, Newcastle, Wollongong and Tweed Heads.
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Shellharbour angler and fishing writer Gary Wade is a life member of the Australian National Sportfishing Association NSW Branch.
Mr Wade said the reefs would boost tourism by attracting more visiting anglers to the region.
He said they represented the "start of a food chain".
"Micro-organisms will grow into organisms, which will grow into crustaceans and whatever else, which will attract more fish," he said.
"This attracts larger fish up the food chain, until you become a targetable species for recreational anglers."
Mr Wade told the Mercury he would be in favour of "one out off Bellambi, one being off Wollongong, and one off Shellharbour/Kiama".
"It needs to be an easy landmark for the recreational anglers to find, so I would say directly within the preferred three nautical miles due east of Bellambi Point, another due east of Wollongong Lighthouse and another due east of Bass Point," he said.
Member for Kiama Gareth Ward described the million-dollar reefs as an underwater oasis which created unique habitats for fish and aquatic organisms to call home.
"This would be an absolute coup to land an Offshore Artificial Reef off a local beach," he said.
Mr Ward said these reefs are "truly remarkable" and "create a stunning underwater oasis for fish and other marine life to call home and flourish in".
"Schools of sportfish swarm and dart around these reefs, giving keen anglers a great place to drop a bait and greatly enhancing local fishing and tourism opportunities," he said.
"Wouldn't it be fantastic to see another one deployed off a beach in our region?"
Fishers can fill out the survey and name their preferred spot.
The survey is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NSWArtificialReefs and the NSW Department Primary Industries website.
Fishers can complete the survey to nominate a location before Thursday, June 17.
Mr Wade also called for a public meeting to be held on the matter, attended by recreational anglers (both individuals and clubs), charter boat operators and tourism representatives.
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