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Boat Harbour


Photo: Daphne Salt
Boat Harbour's biggest claim to fame, apart from being the site of many temporary shacks and a 4WD park, is as one of the most polluted beaches in the entire Sydney region. It regularly fails official guidelines, as evidenced in 1997/98 when the water failed the limits set for bacteriological pollution (Enterococci) on 94% of days during the Summer season. Of course this is due primarily to its close proximity to the Potter Point Sewage outfall through which millions of litres of partially treated sewage flow each year. With the completed upgrade of the Cronulla Sewage Treatment Plant in April 2001 will come substantial improvements in water quality from Potter Point.

Boat Harbour and the surrounding intertidal rock platforms are a significant part of Kurnell's marine environment. In late 2001, NSW Fisheries announced the establishment of a new Boat Harbour Aquatic Reserve. The new Reserve will place restrictions on fishing and bait collecting in areas next to and adjacent to the Merries Reef area. The area contains a variety of habitats including platforms, crevices, rock-pools, boulders and cobbles. Despite the fact that some intertidal organisms will be protected, finfishing and harvesting of abalone and lobster will still be permitted.

Boat Harbour and Merries Reef are frequented by a range of birds, including plovers, ruddy turnstone and red-necked stint.

Boat Harbour is also the location of a 4WD park (below) in which use of Holt's private beach is permitted. Many conservation groups see 4WD activity on the Peninsula as incompatible with Kurnell's cultural and natural heritage value especially given that on many parts of the Peninsula, it is responsible for damage to significant vegetation communities. It is also putting limitations on the area's use as a habitat for birds.

Photo: Annette Hogan
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