Leave fish sanctuary alone

YELLOWTAIL kingfish have made their annual migration back to Coffin Bay and fishers looking for a big catch are being reminded to stay out of the six sanctuary zones in the area. 

The kingfish are thought to migrate to Coffin Bay to spawn in its protected, shallow bays and Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula marine parks regional coordinator Shelley Paull said the seasonal phenomena was “a remarkable sight”. 

“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.”

She said sanctuary zones on the eastern side of Kellidie Bay, Mount Dutton Bay, Mount Dutton Creek, Horse Peninsula, Yangie Bay and Eely Point needed to be avoided by anglers.

“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.”

Ms Paull said fishers also needed to be aware that if they hooked a fish outside the sanctuary zone, they were not allowed to follow it into the sanctuary zone to land it.

She said no part of the fishing activity could occur within the zone and fishers were also not allowed to “push or herd” fish out of a zone with boats.

“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,” Ms Paull said. 

“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,” she said.

“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.