St George’s Basin artificial reef on course to make history

Stage two of the expansion of the St George’s Basin artificial reef is underway on the NSW South Coast this week, making the region a playground for local fishers and tourists, NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) Artificial Reefs Manager, Heath Folpp, said today. 

“St Georges Basin is a very popular fishing location, and the completion of this redevelopment of the artificial reef will make it the largest artificial reef built for fishing in NSW,” Mr Folpp said.  

“Funds from the NSW Recreational Fishing Trust will be used to construct the artificial reefs, and are a great example of recreational licence fees being put back into the fishing community. 

“This reef will provide second to none fishing opportunities for the State’s recreational anglers, and will be a great boost for the beautiful NSW South Coast. 

“NSW DPI recreational fisheries managers will this week deploy the remaining artificial reef modules at the artificial reef site, bringing this four year project to an end. 

"The NSW DPI has worked closely with researchers, fishers, community groups and other regulatory bodies to ensure the reef is best positioned to maximise its effectiveness.”  

Artificial Reefs are deployed in areas lacking reef habitat, creating places for recreationally important species of fish to live and shelter.  

The St George’s Basin artificial reef was part of a pilot study program in 2007, consisting of 180 reef balls.  

Once completed, an additional 600 Reef Balls will have been spaced over an area of four hectares, occupying approximately 650 m2 of seabed.  

“The reefs are constructed using three size combinations of ‘Reef Balls’, which are specially designed concrete artificial reef modules which promote marine growth and provide fish with a complex, almost natural habitat,” Mr Folpp said. 

“The largest Reef Balls are around 1.2 metres wide, 0.9 metres high and weigh up to 1000 kilograms.” 

Artificial reefs are also located at Lake Conjola, Lake Macquarie, Botany Bay and Merimbula.  

Monitoring of the artificial reefs show that they are effective at providing new reef habitat for a range of fish species. The artificial reefs typically record a higher diversity of species and abundance of individuals that what is found on nearby natural reefs. 

The results also showed a number of unusual, highly sought after sport fish are moving back into the areas to make use of the newly deployed artificial reefs.  

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