Artificial reefs to be trialled in Lake Macquarie
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Lake Macquarie will be the first recreational fishing haven in NSW to trial artificial reefs in a bid to improve fishing conditions in the area.
The six artificial reefs are part of a three year, $369,000 pilot programme and will be installed in the Galgabba Point area later this year after the Lake Macquarie City Council gave conditional approval for the project to go ahead.
A preliminary monitoring survey will begin immediately, with the reefs expected to be in place by Christmas.
The artificial reef project has received widespread support from the Concerned Anglers Group, Lake Macquarie City Council, anglers, the local community and organisations including the Boat Owners Association.
The reefs will be made up of moulded concrete ‘reef balls’, which have been used worldwide to enhance fish habitats. The reefs have been found to attract greater numbers of fish to the area and also provide protection for juveniles.
They can easily be moved or removed completely if necessary.
The Saltwater Recreational Fishing Trust has funded the project through the recreational fishing licence fee. A detailed ‘before’ survey of the site, surrounding natural reef and sand locations will begin immediately, before the reefs are installed.
This is great news for anglers because the findings of the study will play a vital role in providing information to improve recreational fishing by improving fish habitats.
It will look at which species of fish and how many are being caught on the artificial reefs and existing natural reefs. This will allow researchers to monitor which fish species are attracted to artificial reefs, the size of fish attracted to them and how many fish anglers are catching.
The study will give the NSW Government a sound basis for making informed decisions about artificial reef construction and their effectiveness in the future.
Lake Macquarie is the first site for the artificial reef project with two other recreational fishing havens also being considered for the project.