Home' Afloat : AFLOAT March 2017 Contents Take monthly with water March 2017 57
ON THE WATER
with David Lockwood
You can contact the author at David.
firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at
29E Babbage Rd,
Roseville Chase 2069
Tel: 02 9417 8455
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Does the antisocial behaviour of a
few sods, who happen to be casting
a line from Sydney ferry wharves at
night, warrant a ban on fishing for all and
sundry from these very public amenities?
My gosh, I hope not. There will be an uproar.
But word is RMS has mooted this very thing,
prompting NSW DPI to try education before
the gates go up.
Like many, I grew up fishing from
Sydney’s ferry wharves with the fascinating
multicultural mix. When my mother had
two young boys and was on her own, she’d
drop us at the Taronga Zoo wharf, Mosman
wharf, or old Cremorne wharf with a bucket
stacked with tackle and bait. The safe fishing
environment would engage us for hours.
Today, I could regale you with stories all
night long. These were impressionable days.
I now live near Manly, where fishing is
banned from the local ferry wharf, yet the
encroachment of commercial business
interests continues both by design and
stealth. This used to be such a great public
fishing spot and well-known fishing writers
Laurie and Julie McEnally fished here
together as kids before they were married.
Nowadays, the raised public deck on
the western side of Manly Wharf has been
leased by Hugo’s. After losing that public
space we now see planter boxes advancing
like Daleks down the planks in what I fear
is another grab for traditional recreational
space. Next thing someone will complain
about the incompatible public and lay claim
to more table space for the high flyers.
Speaking of noise, by golly the
Chardonnay set is loud after a few. Do a
dBA test at Manly Wharf and compare those
apparently noisy ‘anglers’ on other Sydney
ferry wharves that are now sparking talks
of fishing bans.
At sunset, you are ushered off Manly
Wharf and the corner of the beach by the
well-meaning and polite volunteer penguin
wardens. They close a gate and the Little
penguins waddle under the wharf to nest
near the piles of refuse. Above, the crowds
and music roar like never before. A second
story of restaurants and more bars will be
added to Manly Wharf soon. But you can’t
fish here with the kids.
Is it time to rebuild the boardwalk from Manly OceanWorld to Manly Wharf, with casual
stern-to boat docking and a fishing platform?
Fishing at Sydney
wharves under threat
You can head around to the eastern
side of Manly Wharf to the large outdoor
deck bar for more yet drinks, but no fishing.
I recently spotted a big flathead, the usual
stud whiting, bream and luderick, but was
more chuffed to see the local kids jumping
from the rails into the water. At least they
were making good use of the public amenity.
Had they cast a line, they would have been
Manly is rife with alcohol-related
antisocial behaviour. It’s not the fishing
that is the problem, that’s for sure. Ditto
at Sydney’s ferry wharves where policing
is needed to move disruptive groups and
prevent littering and partying. I’m not
condoning bad behaviour anywhere, but
the threat of closing areas to decent fishos
is unjust. RMS needs to take responsibility
for its public amenities, not just rake in the
lease revenue, and actively work with police
to patrol them.
It is of grave concern to see the constant
encroachment on public foreshore space
around Sydney by commercial interests
these days. As more harbour foreshore
land is redeveloped, fishos will be sent
packing. This includes the marinas that
are not fishing spots, too.
Fishing off wharves is one of the most
wholesome activities around and it has
great social licence. Banning fishing from
ferry wharves will lead to overcrowding at
other spots. In Melbourne, they embrace
their piers from St Kilda to Geelong. In
Sydney, we need more wharves, wharf
wardens, policing of the ‘drop kicks’ as
with everywhere else, garbage bins with
lids that are emptied before overflowing,
and a sense of ownership and responsibility
starting with RMS.
We should be building more safe land-
based fishing spots and public foreshore
areas. Imagine a pier jutting out into Botany
Bay; a long public wharf at HMAS Penguin
on Taylors Point in Pittwater near the old
torpedo tubes; something new in Sydney
Harbour to ease the crowds at Clifton
Gardens. We should have a boardwalk
running from Manly Ocean World across
to Manly Wharf, from which to moor boats
stern-to, and with a fishing platform.
Meantime, anglers are being told to
keep the noise down on Sydney’s ferry
wharves, especially after 10pm. Noise
travels across the water unabated on a still
night. Local residents deserve the right to
enjoy a good night’s sleep, so employ some
“stealth fishing” tactics. You’ll get more
fish that way. For more info on responsible
fishing on Sydney’s ferry wharves, see
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