NSW DPI will be deploying artificial reefs off the Illawarra (offshore from Perkins Beach, south of Wollongong) and Hunter coastlines (offshore from Blacksmith’s Beach south of Newcastle) to increase fishing opportunities in those regions.
NSW DPI has installed five offshore artificial reefs in NSW, including off Sydney (South Head), Shoalhaven Heads, Port Macquarie, Southern Sydney (off Port Hacking) and Merimbula Bay on the far south coast. The reefs have been constructed using funds from the Recreational Fishing Trust.
The artificial reefs have proven to be very effective in creating productive fish habitat for a diverse range of species and the DPI Fisheries long term monitoring program has identified a range of key fish species including yellowtail kingfish, snapper, silver trevally, mulloway, yellowtail scad and blue mackerel.
The Wollongong artificial reef site was previously selected following a detailed environmental assessment, which was approved by the Commonwealth Government.
The approved Wollongong reef location is a sandy area approximately 2.4 km offshore from Perkins Beach, 2.5 km south of the Five Islands Nature Reserve in a depth of 34 metres. This location was previously selected for an offshore artificial reef by DPI Fisheries following detailed community consultation and constraints mapping. The reef site will be readily accessible from Wollongong, Port Kembla and Shellharbour.
The approved Newcastle reef location is a sandy area approximately 3.5 km north-east of the Swansea bar in a depth of 28 metres. This location was previously selected for an offshore artificial reef by DPI Fisheries following detailed community consultation and constraints mapping. The reef site will be readily accessible from Newcastle, Swansea and Norah Head.
DPI is currently updating all relevant stakeholders and government agencies to notify that the tender for the design and installation of the reefs has now been released on the NSW Government eTendering website.
The artificial reef designs will utilise steel ‘pinnacle’ style reef modules with high relief and a relatively small footprint. As per the approved artificial reef permit previously obtained by DPI, the reef module dimensions will not exceed 15 m (length) x 12 m (width) x 12 m (height). Similar designs have previously been used for the Sydney (South Head) offshore artificial reef which comprised of a single steel reef tower and the Merimbula offshore artificial reef comprising of two steel reef towers, which was completed in September this year.
For further background information on the NSW DPI artificial reef program, click HERE.