Artificial reefs to provide new habitat for fish


Scientists are installing an artificial reef in waters adjacent to the Sydney Opera House to see whether marine species are happy to call it home – testing the potential of such refuges in areas where man-made structures have replaced natural habitats. 


Partly funded by NSW
Environmental trust, and linking
Sydney Opera house and the University of
Technology, Sydney
, the project aims to survey the fish diversity around the
Opera house and to design and install small artificial reef enhancements along
the seawalls. 


Previous studies suggest that these new structures may add
to fish diversity, especially smaller species and juveniles of larger species
such as luderick.   Prof David Booth (UTS/SIMS) the project’s
research leader says “So far we have recorded a range of fish species such as
leatherjackets, luderick, bream, stripeys and smaller gobies, as well as
tropical visitors such as butterflyfishes.  The seawalls support an
impressive array of colourful sponges and algae”. 


The three-year research project will start by recording the current state of play in terms of fish numbers and diversity in the waters around the Opera House and in other harbour sites.


Having started with low-tech “milk crate” reefs in earlier projects in the harbour, this new initiative will use specially designed artificial reef modules and experiment with varying levels of complexity.