Bermagui: River set to be dredged in boost for commercial fishing

Parts of the Bermagui River will be drenched as part of a $6.2 million state government project.
Parts of the Bermagui River will be drenched as part of a $6.2 million state government project.

Commercial fishing in Bermagui is set to get a big boost thanks to one of the biggest dredging programs in the NSW Government's history.

And locals will be able to breathe easy as NSW Maritime has confirmed none of the dredged material will be placed on Horseshoe Bay Beach.

The state government, with NSW Maritime, has pledged $6.2 million worth of dredging works along the coast of NSW, with Bermagui one of five spots to benefit.

NSW Maritime executive director, Mark Hutchings, said Swansea Channel, Town Green Moorings (in Port Macquarie), Ettalong Channel, and Evans Head Boat Harbour would also received dredging.

"Dredging in Bermagui is particularly important to support the commercial fishing fleet," he said.

"Dredging of the entrance channel of the Bermagui River was completed in 2020. The plan now will be to complete the remaining dredging in the river - from the harbour to the bridge - as well as dredge areas within the harbour that have been reported by stakeholders as becoming too shallow and causing problems for the commercial operators.

"NSW Maritime, in its new role overseeing the statewide dredging program, has identified these five priority locations after carrying out investigations and seeking feedback from local communities.

"Some waterways are more prone than others to the natural process of sedimentation, in which sand and silt washes downstream and gradually fills channels or berthing areas.

"This can have far-reaching economic impacts for communities which are dependent on their fishing and boating industries."

Mr Hutchings said the dredging work would be made possible with a $6.2 million NSW Government stimulus funding commitment, part of the $205 million allocated to maritime infrastructure projects.

"In these continuing difficult times, we are doing all we can to help out our coastal communities with the support they need to get on with the job," he said.

"This stimulus package will play a critical role in creating jobs to plan and deliver this infrastructure to assist with the recovery of the state's economy from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Once further investigation work has been completed, the full program and timeline for the work at Bermagui will be communicated with the local community.

"One thing that can be guaranteed is that there will be no plan to place any of the dredged material on Horseshoe Bay Beach."