Thursday, August 5, 2021

Eight hundred tonne underwater oasis deployed off tweed coast

Installation of a new $1 million Offshore Artificial Reef has begun off the State’s north coast, which would create a stunning habitat for local fish and aquatic organisms to call home.

Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall joined Member for Tweed Geoff Provest to oversee the installation of the 10-metre-high steel centrepiece and the first of 32 concrete modules today, with works to continue across the weekend.

“This Offshore Artificial Reef is a massive hook for recreational fishers and the local landscape, with its innovative design to encourage a wide diversity of marine growth for fish to flourish in,” Mr Marshall said.

“Today we saw the lowering of the massive steel ‘Fish Grotto’, towering 10 metres tall, and 5-metre-high concrete modules which form the foundation of what will be an 834 tonne underwater oasis.

“NSW has the most beautiful beaches in the world, and with the Tweed reef sitting in the warm waters of the State’s far north coast, these are the perfect conditions for recreational fishers to cast a line and land a trophy catch.

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“This state-of-the-art structure is a fantastic example of recreational fishing licence fees at work – built using funds from the NSW Recreational Fishing Trust to showcase how fees are being re-invested into projects.”

The reef is located approximately 7.5 kilometres south east of the Tweed Heads river entrance, between Cook Island and Kingscliff and approximately 2.5 kilometres off the coast of Wommin Bay at a depth of 25 metres.

Australian company Pacific Marine Group Pty Ltd, was awarded the contract for the design, construction and installation of the 32 concrete modules and steel tower which have formed the structure for the reef.

Member for Tweed Mr Provest said that the Tweed reef would increase opportunities for the State’s recreational fishers to target prized catches.

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“A smorgasbord of sportfish will be drawn to the new Offshore Artificial Reef including kingfish, cobia, snapper, mulloway and mackerel with the chance of tropical species such as giant trevally, mangrove jack and various emperors,” Mr Provest said.

“The environmental benefits of these offshore artificial reefs have been scientifically studied and have shown to be up to four times greater compared with natural temperate reefs, so this is a win for all in our local community.”

This instalment won’t be the last, with new reefs in Batemans Bay and Jervis Bay to be completed in 2021 and 2022, adding to those already installed off Sydney, South Sydney, the Shoalhaven, Port Macquarie, Merimbula, Newcastle and Wollongong.

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