New fishing hot-spot off Yorke Peninsula

An artificial shellfish reef is being built off Ardrossan’s coast, which will lure in more of our favourite fish.

If you and your family are into fishing, take note. South Australia’s first artificial shellfish reef is being built near Ardrossan on the Yorke Peninsula, so you’ll soon have a great new spot to wet a line.

Ardrossan is a well-known fishing hot-spot for King George whiting, yellowfin whiting, snapper, mullet, garfish, snook, crab and flathead.

The Yorke Peninsula already attracts about 1 million visitors each year, with about half of these visiting the region specifically to take part in recreational fishing.

While this 4-hectare artificial reef in north-western Gulf St Vincent will take some time to establish, it will hopefully attract more of these popular fish species to the area – which means a better chance of you hooking a decent haul in the years to come.

Shellfish reefs needed by the seashore

Shellfish reefs once characterised the sheltered nearshore areas of SA.

But from 1886 to 1946 reefs suffered – here and in many places around the world – from the impact of overfishing, dredging, water pollution and disease. Native oyster reefs are now virtually absent from SA’s waters and there’s only one native oyster reef left in Australia, which can be found in Tasmania.

Recent research has highlighted the importance of shellfish reef habitats to the quality of the marine environment, including fish breeding.

They provide an important habitat and food source for fish, they filter water, and they can play a vital role in the underwater nutrient cycle, which can assist in seagrass growth.

Here fishy, fishy, fishy

The Ardrossan artificial shellfish reef is being built to improve the habitat for fish. It will help attract fish species that are popular with anglers, and in the longer-term benefit breeding of these popular fish.

The reef will be made out of purpose-built concrete structures, limestone, Pacific Oyster shells and live native oysters.

It will take into account SA’s unique conditions – such as weather and marine environment as well as the life cycle of our own native oyster species.

The idea is that in time, as the oysters grow and develop, it will become a living reef which is diverse and a highly productive habitat for other fish.

Bigger fish to fry

The restoration of native shellfish reefs have been trialled overseas and in other Australian states with promising results, including in Victoria and Western Australia.

The SA trial will be the largest shellfish reef restoration project undertaken in the country.

Following the trial, artificial shellfish reefs may have the potential to be developed in other SA coastal locations.

If you want to head to Yorke Peninsula and sneak in some practice in the meantime, check out the Yorke Peninsula Fishing Guide for some pointers. There's great action to be had from a boat, the shore or the jetty. 

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