Home' Afloat : AFLOAT July 2014 Contents 44 AFLOAT.com.au July 2014
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It weighs over 40,000 kilograms, rises 12
metres off the seabed at its highest point,
and has a reef volume in excess of 700
square metres, which is the size of a decent
rambling Mosman estate. Then there is the
cost, more than a million, funded by our
Yet despite its enormity, and on just
about every scale, Sydney’s first offshore
artificial reef has proven a great investment.
Deployed in October 2011, the monolithic
structure submerged off South Head is now
embraced my thousands of fish and fishers.
Located at latitude 33°50.797’S and
longitude 151°17.988 ’E , in roughly 40 metres
of water on an otherwise featureless sandy
bottom, the manmade reef – the largest
of its kind in Australian waters – is living
testimony to the build-it-and-they-will-come
An ongoing management and monitoring
program has documented a wide variety of
angling species that now call the reef home.
Predictably, it has been a magnet for baitfish
which, in turn, attract larger predators.
The Sydney reef is a hot spot for kingfish,
John dory, bream, trevally, snapper and
leatherjackets, jewfish, teraglin, rays, sharks,
even a passing marlin. More than 20 species
have been recorded. Underwater footage
from last summer at https://w w w.youtube.
com/watch?v = 6tXzicShtf4.
Honouring earlier promises for more
reefs, the Department of Primary Industries
has since announced that a new artificial
reef will be deployed in 30 metres of water
off Port Macquarie at a cost of $900,000.
The concrete construction will create a reef
measuring 800 square metres in size that,
due to its location, will attract a fascinating
mix of temperate and tropical species.
The location of another substantial
offshore reef for NSW waters was also
recently revealed. To be located four
kilometres offshore from Shoalhaven Heads,
or about six kilometres from Crookhaven
Heads, the NSW South Coast reef will
comprise 30 to 50 giant concrete modules
forming a series of clusters in about 30 metres
of water. Cost of $900,000 will be funded by
Two new concrete cluster reefs are
headed for the waters off Botany Bay, too.
The structures costing $1.2 million each will
be lowered to the seabed in 40 metres of
water to create a reef up to five metres high.
Their exact location is still to be determined,
but they will be more good news for Sydney
For those without the means to venture
offshore, there is a reasonable spread
of artificial reefs in our estuaries. The
recreational fishing haven of Botany Bay has
four of them with the largest in Yarra Bay
measuring more than 2,000 square metres
of concrete “reef balls”.
Video monitoring has revealed bream,
tarwhine, snapper and silver trevally, as
well as larger predators such as yellowtail
kingfish and amberjack. Lake Conjola, Lake
Macquarie, Merimbula and St Georges Basin
are home to artificial reefs and more fish.
Location details at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au /
But shore-based anglers miss out on
the investment in infrastructure and fish-
attracting reefs. So here’s what we need to
do. Build some bloody great Melbourne-like
peers jutting out in Botany Bay, a recreational
fishing haven, and give the southside a new
I’d like to see piers, not just wharves
but great big long things with a bait shop,
an ice-cream vendor, and a ‘resident’
caretaker/fishing inspector at the end. You
could build them for the fishos in Bateman’s
Bay, Pittwater, Tuggerah, Lake Macquarie
and Foster, for starters. Create some real
fishermen’s ‘wharves’ with a strict and
enforced code of conduct. How about it?
Where’s the vision? h
with David Lockwood
The reef off Shoalhaven Heads will feature 30-50 giant concrete modules, which will form a
series of clusters about 30 metres below the surface.
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