nurseFishers are reminded that the seasonal fishing closure over an area to the north of Julian Rocks, incorporating reefs known as the Mackerel Boulder, will be in place from Friday May 1st until 31 December 2009.

Manager of Cape Byron Marine Park Andrew Page said the seasonal closure is part of the Cape Byron Marine Park zoning plan and aims to provide protection for endangered grey nurse sharks which aggregate in the area and are most abundant during this time.

“The grey nurse shark is a fascinating animal. One of the reasons their numbers are low is that the female shark can only reproduce every two years,” Mr Page said.

“The female has two uteruses and produces eggs which hatch inside each uterus. The young sharks then eat each other inside the uterus until there are only two left – one in each uterus. Then after two years the female gives birth to the young sharks.

“We really appreciate the co-operation of the public during these seasonal closures. The zoning plan aims to protect and conserve the park’s natural resources and also to allow for sustainable use by the community.

“Information on the zoning plan is widely distributed, information signs have been erected on the boundaries of different marine park zones and at access points.

“Copies of the users guide to the Cape Byron Marine Park zoning plan are available at bait and tackle shops, tourist information centres, most places of accommodation, and government offices including the Department of Environment and Climate Change in Byron Bay on 02 6620 9300.”

The guide can also be viewed and downloaded from the NSW Marine Parks Authority website at www.mpa.nsw.gov.au