New shellfish reef to boost fishing in the bay

28 October 2022

The Victorian Government is continuing to create more recreational fishing opportunities in Port Phillip with a $50,000 contribution to a proposed new shellfish reef off Kerferd Road pier in Albert Park.

Minister for Fishing and Boating Sonya Kilkenny said the funding will continue a partnership between the Government and the Albert Park Yachting and Angling Club, which initiated the concept of shellfish reef restoration in Port Phillip Bay. It will complement the $2.5 million already invested into shellfish and rocky reefs as part of the $35m Go Fishing Victoria plan.

The new reef would be deployed about 800 metres off the Kerferd Road pier to cater for the growing numbers of kayak fishers as well as those out on the water in small boats.

The proposed reef will be made up of metal ‘oyster triangles’ containing shells that mussels and oysters can attach to and grow, providing habitat and food for fish as improving water quality and marine biodiversity.

It’s expected snapper and calamari will take a particular liking to the reef, with whiting and flathead around its perimeter. All are among the key recreational species Port Phillip is known for, providing another avenue for Victorian families to enjoy the great outdoors and enjoy the freshest fish at the dinner table.

Previous shellfish reef projects in Port Phillip include rocky reefs that are already attracting a wide range of aquatic life, with recent surveys of the rocky reefs showing them covered in sea sponges and home to colonies of small fish and being visited by schools of pinky snapper.

Earlier this year kingfish reefs were deployed near Point Nepean to provide nutrient-rich upwellings of water that attract yellowtail kingfish, while also keeping fishers out of shipping channels near Port Phillip heads.

Port Phillip is in better shape than ever thanks to the removal of commercial net fishing, record spawning of whiting and snapper in recent years and upgraded boat ramps where it’s free to launch and park.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Fishing and Boating Sonya Kilkenny

“With Port Phillip now net-free there’s more calamari, snapper, King George whiting and flathead in Port Phillip meaning Victorian families can wet a line and enjoy bread and butter species at the dinner table.”

“We’ve invested more than $2.5 million into creating more fishing opportunities and a healthier marine environment through reef development, and this funding continues our partnership with Albert Park Yachting and Angling Club.”

Quote attributable to Member for Albert Park Martin Foley

“The reefs deployed across the bay have already boosted marine biodiversity and provided more homes for fish, and those benefits will be bolstered when the proposed new reef at Kerferd Road is installed.”

Quote attributable to Member for Southern Metropolitan Nina Taylor

“This reef would give even more local fishers the chance to chase key species like calamari, whiting and snapper and is another way we’re making fishing in Victoria even better.”