Two major fishing reef projects near Geelong are complete, creating new, healthy fish habitats for local anglers to enjoy.
The first project has delivered three reefs at Outer Harbour, St Helens and Kirk Point, each named with help from the community.
The trio of reefs were constructed with 2,000 tonnes of basalt as a base, sourced from the nearby Cherry Creek juvenile justice facility with help from VRFish and topped with 100 tonnes of limestone. This combination provided the perfect substrate upon which to seed 400,000 native flat oysters and 10 tonnes of blue mussels.
Oysters were sourced from the Victorian Shellfish Hatchery at Queenscliff and the mussels came from a local grower, Advanced Mussel Supply. Oysters and mussels will improve water quality, create diversity in sea floor fish habitats and boost productivity for fish and invertebrates.
The second project was led by The Nature Conservancy with an investment from Target One Million and restored shellfish reefs at 9ft Bank in the Geelong Arm by deploying 100 cubic metres of recycled shells from restaurants and the seafood industry.
It also included new reefs at Wilson Spit in Geelong Arm, Margaret’s Reef near St Kilda and in Dromana Bay. These 3.5 hectares of new reefs were seeded with approximately 3 million oysters and 6 tonnes of blue mussels, which will attract a diversity of fish and aquatic life.
The Outer Harbour reef will be called Moolap, that being the Indigenous name of Point Henry. Moolap recognises the cultural significance of the sea country to Wadawurrung people and means a place of men fishing with spears.
The reef at St Helens is Merv’s Reef, named after the late Merv McGuire, former head of Future Fish and VRFish. It is ideal for land-based fishers because it’s 62 metres from the break wall.
At Kirk Point the reef will be called Wilson Reef, honouring Geelong fishing writer and identity Geoff Wilson.
The project was delivered by the Victorian Fishing Authority. Reef locations were selected following consultation with key recreational fishing stakeholders and Geelong fishing club members. The new reefs are accessible, known for good fishing and away from areas important for other marine uses, such as shipping channels and spoil grounds.