New artificial reefs off Napier coast aim to enhance marine life and improve fishing

Two brand new artificial reefs have been built off the coast of Napier to enhance marine life and provide more space for fishing.

One of the barges with the limestone used for the construction of the reefs. Source: Napier Port / Supplied via RNZ

The reefs are a partnership between Napier Port and LegaSea Hawke's Bay, a group of recreational fishers dedicated to rebuilding fish stock.

Napier Port constructed the first reef 1.4km north-east of the Pania Reef, with about 15,000 tonnes of limestone.

A second reef was created in a single day last month, with a barge depositing about 1400 tonnes of limestone at the site of a shipwreck.

To create the reefs, limestone rocks were loaded on to a barge via a dredge. The barge was towed by a tug to the reef location.

Once there, the rocks were deposited onto the seabed via a split barge, which opened and allowed the rocks to fall freely to the sea floor.

LegaSea Hawke's Bay spokesperson Wayne Bicknell told RNZ it would help solve a problem for fishers.

"For years, the fisheries has been under pressure here and recreational fishing has declined big time. Hawke Bay it's just all barren, it's all flat."

The limestone was taken from a revetment wall at Napier Port which was dismantled to build a new wharf.

The port said it worked closely with a group of local marae, hapū and mana whenua to create the new reefs.