North Stradbroke Island to get $1 million reef skeleton

UNDERWATER: A diver records data collected from Moreton Bay. An artificial reef set for Straddie later this year will mean more diving, recreational fishing and study opportunities. Photo: File / supplied
UNDERWATER: A diver records data collected from Moreton Bay. An artificial reef set for Straddie later this year will mean more diving, recreational fishing and study opportunities. Photo: File / supplied

A $1 MILLION artificial reef will be installed off Straddie’s Point Lookout by December.

The project was announced by Employment Minister Shannon Fentiman on Tuesday as part of efforts to boost the island’s diving and recreational tourism opportunities.

Almost 40 concrete structures will be submerged across 30-hectares about 1.5 kilometres from Minjerribah Camping’s Adder Rock grounds.

Moreton Bay is already scattered with artificial reefs, including two near Peel and Coochiemudlo islands.

See video footage of West Peel artificial reef below.

Redland City Council and diving groups had lobbied state government in 2016 for ex-HMAS Tobruk to be sunk off Straddie to boost the island’s tourism sector.

The ship, one of two decommissioned vessels offered by the federal government to the states and territory for use as dive wrecks, was instead submerged at the Fraser Coast.

Ms Fentiman said the concrete structures, to be built by Townsville-based Pacific Marine Group, would be similar to existing concrete reef skeletons in Moreton Bay and Hervey Bay.

“These purpose-built concrete reefs will be low maintenance, last more than 30 years and can withstand significant storm events,” she said.

“Moreton Bay already has seven artificial reefs that provide fantastic fishing opportunities for the south-east, and this reef will further enhance recreational opportunities.”

The money was allocated from the state government’s $30 million marine infrastructure fund.

Ms Fentiman said the Straddie site, located in waters between 10 and 12 metres deep, was approved after talks led by Queensland Parks and Wildlife.

 Conceptual drawings of the concrete reef structures. Photo: Pacific Marine Group

Conceptual drawings of the concrete reef structures. Photo: Pacific Marine Group

Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation, the Queensland Seafood Industry Association and tourism, fishing, diving and environment groups were all involved.

Ms Fentiman said ocean lovers could expect aquatic life to become established within months of the reef skeleton’s submersion.

“… Divers will see an array of sea creatures around the purpose built structures, and within 18 months fishing will be improved substantially,” she said.

QYAC chief executive Cameron Costello said the reef would help position Quandamooka country as a globally recognised eco-cultural tourism destination.

“It is exciting to be involved in projects that see our people actively playing a role in creating future fishing and diving opportunities on Quandamooka country,” he said.

Redland mayor Karen Williams welcomed the state’s contribution towards Redlands’ marine infrastructure.