Ballina Offshore Artificial Reef

NSW DPI Fisheries is currently investigating a suitable site to deploy an offshore artificial reef in the Ballina region.

Artificial reefs help to increase biodiversity in the marine environment and promote offshore recreational fishing opportunities by creating new fish habitat and providing additional fishing locations.

Innovative and state of the art reef designs are used to deflect currents to create eddies and upwellings to provide intricate habitats for a variety of fish species. Previous reef installations have proven to be very effective to date in creating productive fish habitat for a diverse range of recreationally important fish species including Kingfish, Samsonfish, Amberjack, Snapper, Silver Trevally, Mulloway, Yellowtail Scad and Blue Mackerel.

The Ballina reef proposal will complement existing successful artificial reef installations off Sydney, Shoalhaven Heads, Port Macquarie, Southern Sydney, Merimbula, Newcastle, Wollongong, Tweed Heads, Eurobodalla, Forster and Terrigal coastlines.

DPI is currently investigating a study area within a depth range of 30 to 40 metres approximately 5km south of the Richmond River mouth within NSW State waters bound by the following coordinates:

North - 28°54.550'S, 153°34.810'E

East - 28°55.174'S, 153°36.058'E

South - 28°56.202'S, 153°35.403'E

West - 28°55.597'S, 153°34.161'E

DPI is now seeking feedback on the study area defined above and illustrated by the box in the map below.

Ballina reef consultation area

Specific design of the reef will be subject to a government tender process but is likely to involve two steel structures. Each structure is likely to have an approximate footprint of 15 x 15 m placed on sandy substrate up to 100m apart.

Considerable planning will be undertaken with site selection to ensure the reef will provide recreational fishing benefits in the Ballina region while minimising impacts on existing users of the site.

The proposed Ballina artificial reef project will be implemented using funds from the Recreational Fishing Trust and a contribution from the Marine Estate Management Strategy.

Please note: the NSW DPI Fisheries offshore artificial reefs program is in place to boost recreational fishing opportunities. Offshore artificial reefs installed under this program are not designed as SCUBA diving sites. Due to safety concerns, NSW DPI Fisheries does not recommend, nor condone recreational SCUBA activities on any purpose-built offshore artificial reef.

If you have any comments on the above proposed artificial reef study area, please submit them via the email or postal address listed below by 15 December 2023. It would also be helpful to provide reasons or relevant data to support any comments.

Please send your submissions for the proposal to:

Fisheries Enhancement, NSW DPI Fisheries, PO Box 341, Narooma NSW 2546