SAFE CROSSING: Lennox Head fisher Glenn Hatchman says dredging is needed.
SAFE CROSSING: Lennox Head fisher Glenn Hatchman says dredging is needed. Patrick Gorbunovs

Fishers support call for dredging notorious bar in Ballina

DREDGING the notorious Richmond River bar at Ballina remains a high priority for local fishers, particularly as boaties make the most of the holiday sun.

At the weekend, fishers gutting their catch at the Fishery Creek boat ramp off River St all strongly supported dredging.

Recreational fisher Glenn Hatchman, of Lennox Head, has been using the bar for 20 years.

"The dredging needs to be done if Ballina is to be promoted as a safe location for fishing," he said.

"It is an 'iffy' bar at the best of times, one of the worst, with a long area of shallow water.

"If (the swell) gets to one-and-a-half metres on a run-out tide, I'll avoid it.

"My brother had his boat turn over on the bar about a year ago. He salvaged it but lost a lot of gear."

James Stewart, of Wollongbar, said the estuary was in "definite" need of dredging, extending out to the walls.

"On a low tide it is difficult to get out and most of the time the boats that tip over are from the small pressure waves caused by the shallow water," he said.

"Sometimes out there it can be 14-15m deep and then it will drop down to three or four metres."

Ballina RSL Fishing Club treasurer Anna Konya said the club had collected about 1400 signatures in a petition and spoken about the issue to Ballina MP Don Page.

"Nothing has been done and it just seems to be getting worse," Ms Konya said.

"We need dredging, not only at the bar but at North Creek as well."

A Crown Lands spokesman said surveys of the bar had shown a "general deepening" but new surveys were needed to see if the river bed had changed.