Hawke’s Bay has two brand new artificial reefs that are set to enhance the existing habitat and health of the region’s marine life and provide for local recreational fishing. The reefs are the successful outcome of a constructive and ongoing partnership between Napier Port and LegaSea Hawke’s Bay, a group of recreational fishers dedicated to rebuilding Hawke’s Bay fish stock.
Guided by its resource consent to deposit rock onto the seabed to provide for a fishery habitat (artificial reef) at two locations, Napier Port has constructed the first reef 1.4 kilometres north east of Pania Reef with 11 barge loads, or approximately 15,000 tonnes (over 8000 m3), of limestone boulders to date. The naturally occurring limestone was taken from a revetment wall at Napier Port, which has been dismantled as the Port builds its new 6 Wharf to support regional growth.
A second reef was created in a single day last Friday 29 January with a barge depositing approximately 1400 tonnes (750m3) of limestone rock at the location of the “Gwen B” shipwreck site.
Napier Port Chief Executive Todd Dawson says, “After many months of consultation and planning, we’re thrilled to see this collaboration come to fruition. This project represents a unique balance of environmental, cultural and economic successes, and given the new reef will help to replenish our fisheries we see it as a gift to the wider Hawke’s Bay community that will keep on giving for years to come.”
In addition to their strong partnership with LegaSea Hawke’s Bay, Napier Port have also worked closely with the Mana Whenua Steering Komiti – a group of local marae, hapū and mana whenua entities – and the wider Fisheries Liaison Group, which LegaSea forms part of.
Both groups have been set up in partnership with Napier Port to protect water quality, Pania Reef, kai moana, fisheries, and other sites of cultural, environmental and recreational significance in Te Matau a Māui, or Hawke Bay, as the port undertakes its current 6 Wharf construction and dredging programme.
Napier Port Environmental Advisor Paul Rose has played a key role in delivering this project and added that creating a new artificial reef is no easy task, let alone two.
“There’s been a tremendous amount of hard work and consultation with our project partners and right across the 6 Wharf team to deliver this fantastic outcome for the wider community. From a sustainability perspective, this is a big win for Hawke’s Bay’s marine environment and hopefully an example others can follow across New Zealand.”
LegaSea Hawke’s Bay spokesperson, Brian Firman, says the formation of the reef was a massive milestone for the group and a testament to hard work and a genuine collaborative approach.
“Napier Port has been very accommodating and a brilliant partner to work with regarding its 6 Wharf project and the building of these two new reefs. True to their word, the Port has followed through on this unique collaboration, which will ultimately enhance fish habitat and recreational fishing opportunities close to Napier” said Mr Firman.