Wollongong offshore artificial reef

The NSW Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries (DPI) will be deploying an offshore artificial reef off the Illawarra coastline (offshore from Perkins Beach, south of Wollongong) to increase fishing opportunities in the region.

Map - Wollongong offshore artificial reef.jpg

NSW DPI has installed five offshore artificial reefs in NSW, including off Sydney (South Head), Shoalhaven Heads, Port Macquarie, Southern Sydney (off Port Hacking) and Merimbula Bay on the far south coast. The reefs have been constructed using funds from the Recreational Fishing Trust.

The artificial reefs have proven to be very effective in creating productive fish habitat for a diverse range of species and the DPI Fisheries long term monitoring program has identified a range of key fish species including yellowtail kingfish, snapper, silver trevally, mulloway, yellowtail scad and blue mackerel.

The Wollongong artificial reef site was previously selected following a detailed environmental assessment, which was approved by the Commonwealth Government. The approval also included reef sites off Sydney (now built) and off the Newcastle coast.

The approved Wollongong reef location is a sandy area approximately 2.4 km offshore from Perkins Beach, 2.5km south of the Five Islands Nature Reserve in a depth of 34 metres (see attached map for centre point coordinates). This location was previously selected for an offshore artificial reef by DPI Fisheries following detailed community consultation and constraints mapping. The reef site will be readily accessible from Wollongong, Port Kembla and Shellharbour.

DPI is currently updating all relevant stakeholders and government agencies to notify that the tender for the design and installation of the Wollongong artificial reef project has now been released on the NSW Government eTendering website.

The artificial reef design will utilise steel ‘pinnacle’ style reef modules with high relief and a relatively small footprint. As per the approved artificial reef permit previously obtained by DPI, the reef module dimensions will not exceed 15m (length) x 12m (width) x 12m (height). Similar designs have previously been used for the Sydney (South Head) offshore artificial reef which comprised of a single steel reef tower and the Merimbula offshore artificial reef comprising of two steel reef towers, which was completed in September this year.

If you require any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me on (02) 6691 9673 or Email: heath.folpp@dpi.nsw.gov.au.

For further background information on the NSW DPI artificial reef program please visit website https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/artificial-reef