Anglers to benefit from largest off-shore artificial reef just south of Port Hacking

Headed for Port Hacking: Artificial reef modules, which weigh 25 tonnes and are five metres high by four metres wide, under construction for installation in late July or early August. Picture: supplied
Headed for Port Hacking: Artificial reef modules, which weigh 25 tonnes and are five metres high by four metres wide, under construction for installation in late July or early August. Picture: supplied

The largest off-shore artificial reef in NSW will be installed near Port Hacking, providing anglers with a better chance to hook the big one.

Construction is well advanced on the modules, each of which weighs 25 tonnes and is five metres high by four metres wide.

By late July or early August, 36 modules will be towed to the installation site just south of Port Hacking.

Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair said the reef would be the fourth of its kind created by the state government since 2011.

“We are world leaders in the design and construction of these reefs,” he said.

Mr Blair said the modules were self-weighted and would not require additional anchoring.

“Steel towers will also be erected on some of the modules to increase the total height to eight metres,” he said.

“Artificial reefs are a complex design creating intricate habitats for a variety of fish species.

“Existing artificial reefs have already attracted 50 species, including popular yellowtail, kingfish, snapper and mulloway.

“The reefs remain productive for decades, are non-polluting with a minimum design life of 30 years and are able to withstand a one-in-100-year storm event.”

Mr Blair said, thanks to the efforts of the Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW (NSW Branch) and the South Sydney Amateur Fishing Association, funding was secured through the Transport for NSW Port Botany Boating and Fishing Infrastructure Fund.

Mr Blair said Merimbula would get the next artificial reef, and a further four locations would soon be announced.

“Everywhere I go, fishers ask if they can have one,” he said.

“I can’t wait to see anglers enjoying the benefits.”

The Port Hacking project generated heated debate on the Leader’s Facebook page.

”Stop destroying the natural habitat and artificial ones would not be needed,” wrote one reader.

This brought the reply: “Can you inform me where the natural reef just south of the Port Hacking was destroyed?”, leading to further exchanges.

Another reader posted: “Think we need to upgrade the tinny”.