Artificial Reefs: one year on


It’s been one year since the artificial reefs were deployed and the 5m high structures no longer look like bare!

A large amount of marine growth and an increase in fish numbers and species diversity has been recorded at each of the sites.

Using baited underwater cameras, the Fisheries Division conducts regular monitoring of the new reefs to monitor changes in biomass and species diversity.

The amount of marine growth and abundance of fish life has exceeded expectations. Over 40 different species of fish have been identified so far, including a range of juvenile snapper species, jewfish and large schools of trevally and mackerel. The reefs are almost unrecognisable due to dense colonisation by soft corals, sea weeds and other organisms.

The Artificial Reef project was the largest single investment so far under the Northern Territory Government’s $50 million RecFishing Futures Program. Four reefs were deployed in the Greater Darwin region with two between North Gutter and Lee Point, one in the Dundee region and one between the Vernon Islands and Cape Hotham.

Each of the new reefs covers an area approximately the size of the football stadium at Marrara. Local business Shorelands partnered with Subcon Technologies to construct and install the new reefs, and as a spin-off from this project, installed an additional 15 small artificial reef modules in front of the recreational fishing platform at Stokes Hill Wharf.

The artificial reef modules are made of concrete that sit on the seabed and are designed to replicate the best possible natural reef habitat to encourage fish to take up residence and boost their breeding success.

The project has been selected as a finalist in the 2020 Australian Institute of Project Management’s (AIPM) Project Management Achievement Awards which recognise, honour, and promote outstanding achievements in program and project leadership. The virtual awards will be held on Wednesday 25 November and you can tune in online to watch the awards at

Reef Structure

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