Posted September 27th, 2023

Forster welcomed the launch of its brand-new Offshore Artificial Reef (OAR) this week.

This initiative has been years in the making, with the groundwork laid by Member for Myall Lakes, Tanya Thompson’s predecessor, Stephen Bromhead. “Stephens vision for enhancing recreational fishing opportunities in the Forster region have come to fruition with the official launch of Forster’s Offshore Artificial Reef,” said Mrs Thompson.

The Forster Offshore Artificial Reef, situated approximately 4 km east-north-east of Wallis Lake entrance at a depth of 33 meters, is set to become a focal point for local and visiting anglers. This purpose-built structure, designed and constructed by Australian-based company SMC Marine, will undoubtedly elevate Forster’s appeal for fishing enthusiasts, both local and tourists alike.

The innovative design of the reef, featuring two steel towers placed 30m apart each weighing around 50 tonnes, standing 13 meters high, and 16 x 16 meters wide, promises to create the perfect marine environment, attracting a variety of fish species in a relatively short time, including Kingfish, Mulloway, and Snapper. These artificial reefs also play a crucial role in deflecting currents and creating eddies and upwellings, providing intricate habitats for marine life.

Phil Gogerly, Reel Ocean Adventures fishing charter operator, remarked, “The new OAR for Forster is a game-changer, it will offer exceptional recreational fishing opportunities and a thriving habitat for Forster’s diverse marine life.” Reel Ocean Adventures assisted DPI Fisheries in the deployment of the first artificial reef module. The second module will be deployed within the next few weeks, completing the artificial reef structure.

This $1 million investment has been made possible through the former Coalition Government’s artificial reef program which draws its funding through the Recreational Fishing Trust, which is made up of recreational fishing fees, as well as funding from the Regional Growth – Environment and Tourism Fund.

Mrs Thompson, highlighted the significance of this project, saying, “Recreational fishing continues to be one of our region’s most popular pastimes, and the Forster Offshore Artificial Reef will bring big opportunities for local businesses and tourism.”

“The launch of the Forster Offshore Artificial Reef marks a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to enhance fishing opportunities and ecological benefits in the Forster region,” Mrs Thompson said.

Once the reef is in place, the local community and visitors can look forward to enjoying a thriving marine ecosystem and a boost to the local economy, thanks to this addition to Forster’s coastal offerings.

Photo: Shane Chalker Photography

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