Boat Based Reefs

areas for reef fishing in port phillip bay

depolying reef balls in prto phillip bay

The first series of reefs were installed in May 2009 with the aim of improving recreational fishing opportunities and testing the reefs'environmental suitability and performance as fish habitat.

The three reefs are in a water depth of 11 metres, approximately 2 kilometres out from Aspendale, Seaford and Frankston. A public naming competition was held during Easter 2009.

The reef at Aspendale is named Rec Reef to highlight the use of these reefs to improve recreational fishing.

SiteDescriptionLatitudeLongitude
AspendaleFar North Pallet Ball38° 02.152' S145° 04.616' E
AspendaleFar East Pallet Ball38° 02.168' S145° 04.636' E
AspendaleFar South Pallet Ball38° 02.184' S145° 04.615' E
AspendaleFar West Pallet Ball38° 02.167' S145° 04.596' E

The reef at Seaford is named Tedesco Reef after Neil Tedesco who died in a diving accident in 2009, age 31. Neil was a devoted fisher and diver and an ambassador of these sports.

SiteDescriptionLatitudeLongitude
SeafordFar North Pallet Ball38° 05.229' S145° 05.954' E
SeafordFar East Pallet Ball38° 05.246' S145° 05.974' E
SeafordFar South Pallet Ball38° 05.261' S145° 05.953' E
SeafordFar West Pallet Ball38° 05.245' S145° 05.934' E

The reef at Frankston is named Yakka Reef after the growing popularity of kayak fishing and the reefs accessibility to small craft.

SiteDescriptionLatitudeLongitude
FrankstonFar North Pallet Ball38° 08.467' S145° 05.480' E
FrankstonFar East Pallet Ball38° 08.483' S145° 05.500' E
FrankstonFar South Pallet Ball38° 08.499' S145° 05.479' E
FrankstonFar West Pallet Ball38° 08.482' S145° 05.459' E

A Fisheries Notice excludes commercial fishing around the three reefs.

Artificial Reef Trial in Port Phillip Bay - 2009-2011

This video describes a project that deployed three artificial reefs in eastern Port Phillip Bay in 2009, and evaluated their performance and ecological impacts over a 2 year period. Each artificial reef was comprised of approximately 100 concrete modules called  "reef balls" that were deployed approximately 2 km from shore with the aim of enhancing fishing for boat based anglers in eastern Port Phillip Bay.

View the transcript for this video.

Did the reefs work?

Following their deployment, the three reefs were the focus of a rigorous three-year scientific monitoring trial. This involved regular dive surveys, the use of baited underwater video cameras, fishing trials using expert anglers and surveys of anglers at boat ramps.

The three reefs were rapidly colonised by a range of marine plants and animals along with a variety of fish including many popular with anglers. Snapper was one of the most common fish detected.

Anglers surveyed as part of the trial were satisfied with their fishing experience on the new reefs and indicated they would return to fish the reefs.

The reef structures have proven resilient to sedimentation and disturbance by anchoring and are expected to provide fishing opportunities for years to come.

The evaluation report on Port Phillip Bay's recreational fishing reefs is available by emailing improving.fishing@vfa.vic.gov.au.