THE biggest artificial reef in Port Phillip has been installed near Point Nepean.
A crane lowered concrete sections of the reef into the water on Sunday 22 May and Monday 23 May in a format designed to attract fish for recreational fishers.
The reef is the last in a series that have been deployed throughout Port Phillip and Corio bays as part of the state government’s $2.5 million artificial reef program made as a 2018 election commitment.
The laying of the reef’s 16 large concrete structures in clusters of four about 50 metres apart, was made despite criticism by environmentalists and a call for more information by Mornington Peninsula Shire (“Shire calls for delay on reef” The News 11/4/22).
Futurefish Foundation director David Kramer says there was “never any question” that the Victorian Fisheries Authorities’ planning and approval process was flawed.
Kramer says he thought of the idea of a reef to provide a place to catch yellowtail kingfish and sees the reef as “a dream come true”.
He described environmentalists who reacted angrily to the project as “alarmists rather than environmentalists”.
“These people actually have no idea what they are talking about,” Kramer said.
“These individuals claim to be experts and seek some form of entitlement when actually they play no role in the decision making regarding these types of projects.”
The Futurefish Foundation is registered as an environmental organisation with the federal government’s Department of Agriculture, Land and the Environment.
“Futurefish has been listed on this register since 31 October 2005 and takes great pride in its 17-year history as a responsible organisation who cares for the pristine environments fish rely on to thrive,” Kramer said.
“We also take great pride having provided sound and reliable advice to government on all 14 reefs deployed into Port Phillip over the past 15 years.
“We are experienced, and we have an impeccable track record.”
Kramer said he had been “appalled at some of the ludicrous commentary towards me; the Futurefish Foundation and the Victorian Fisheries Authority”.
“These individuals do not have any history of providing sound advice nor do they hold any credibility in their commentary on the installation of artificial reefs.
“They have never been consulted on the installation of the previous 13 artificial reefs deployed into Port Phillip by successive governments and nor should they.
“They have never made comment of the previous 13 reefs deployed into Port Phillip which have been widely communicated via media over the past 15 years, and yet they feel entitled to be consulted on this one.”
Kramer said “a lot of work has gone into the planning and consideration [with government authorities] of the new artificial reef and the environment in which it will sit”.
He said establishing the artificial reef in The Rip – “treacherous in certain weather and tidal conditions – would make catching kingfish “safer … for recreational fishers from all over Victoria”.