Hunter site chosen for artificial reef

THE state government has approved plans for three offshore artificial reefs including one off Blacksmiths Beach.

But the Hunter would need to wait for its reef while the first is trialled off the coast of Sydney for about three years.

The reef would be about 3.6 kilometres off Blacksmiths Beach and the entrance of the Swansea Channel.

A third would be placed off Perkins Beach south of Wollongong.

The NSW Department of Industry and Investment has proposed the reefs to improve offshore recreational fishing opportunities.

An analysis was done to determine where to test the first reef.

The 35-tonne steel structures would take up to six months to build, would be lowered onto the seabed by a crane, and have a lifespan of up to 30 years.

The government said about 30 conditions had been put on the project, including that the department must monitor any impact on threatened species.