Artificial reefs in South Australia

Artificial reefs are typically man-made structures designed to create an environment for marine life. They include purpose-sunk vessels, groupings of old tyres, and other objects. The placement and construction of artificial reefs are regulated under the Commonwealth Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Act 1981. See https://www.dcceew.gov.au/environment/marine/marine-pollution/sea-dumping/artificial-reefs for a useful fact sheet on artificial reefs, covering permits, resources, site determination and layout, materials and monitoring.

While some marine conservation groups have expressed concern about artificial reefs and their impact on the environment, in general SDFSA supports these structures if they are developed in consultation with local communities and users (fishers, divers, etc) and the materials used have been cleaned of oil and other potentially toxic substances and will not contribute to a deterioration of the surrounding environment.

More recently, the State is working with the Nature Conservancy on the restoration of South Australia’s shellfish reefs, anticipating benefits such as a healthier marine environment, improved water quality, reductions in coastal erosion and improved opportunities for recreational fishers.

More recent Artificial Reef projects include:

  • Windara shellfish reef, south of Ardrossan on the Yorke Peninsul
  • Two hectare shellfish reef at Glenelg
  • Removal of the above surface wave generator at Carrickalinga while leaving the remainder submerged to maintain the artificial reef environment that has become established there.

List of SA artificial reefs as of 2018 from the Bonzle Digital Atlas of Australia (www.bonzle.com)

Ardrossan (Barge) Artificial Reef, SA
Giles Point (Tyre module) Artificial Reef, SA
Glenelg (Dredge) Artificial Reef, SA
Glenelg (Sunken barge) Artificial Reef, SA
Glenelg (Tyre module) Artificial Reef, SA
Grange (Tyre module) Artificial Reef, SA
Kingscote (Tyre module) Artificial Reef, SA
Port Augusta (Tyre module) Artificial Reef, SA
Port Broughton (Car bodies) Artificial Reef, SA
Port Germein (Pipes) Artificial Reef, SA
Port Lincoln (Sunken vessel) Artificial Reef, SA
Port Neill (Sunken vessel) Artificial Reef, SA
Port Noarlunga (Tyre module) Artificial Reef, SA
Port Pirie (Tyre module) Artificial Reef, SA
Streaky Bay (Tyre module) Artificial Reef, SA
Wallaroo (Tyre module) Artificial Reef, SA
Whyalla (Tyre module) Artificial Reef 1, SA
Whyalla (Tyre module) Artificial Reef 2, SA
Whyalla (Tyre module) Artificial Reef 3, SA