Another 500 culverts and pipes dropped on reef this month
IN 1968, five large vessels, two small barges, more than 3000 cars, 800 tonnes of concrete, 12,000 car tyres and a jib crane were dropped onto the Roy Rufus Artificial Reef to create an underwater eco-system.
Once the reef had taken shape along the eastern side of Big Woody Island, Hervey Bay Artificial Reef Association member George Duck said it proved to be one of the most popular fishing spots on the Fraser Coast.
Mr Duck appeared on the front page of the Observer in 1989 after hooking several 10 to 18 pound snapper - one of which had a 5kg head alone, with its body being taken by a shark.
"I have caught heaps there over the years," Mr Duck said.
Now, time has taken its toll on the disintegrating objects, which are slowly sinking into the ocean floor.
Mr Duck said the association had gone to great lengths to gain permits to drop a further 200 pipes onto the reef during 2009 and 2010, followed by another 500 culverts and pipes dropped earlier this month.
He said it would take about a year for growth on the pipes, which were donated by the former Hervey Bay City Council, to become established.
"Many of the items have since disintegrated or been covered with sand and silt and needed to be replaced," Mr Duck said.
"It's purely for fishing. It's just a sandy bottom there and nothing lived there.
"If it wasn't for the artificial reef there would be no fish, it would just be desert."
Mr Duck said community effort and support made the May 3 drop a success, with many businesses offering their services and equipment for free.
"They all like to have an artificial reef to fish on," he laughed.
- Boat Club: Use of forklift
- Handy Hire: Tele-loader hire and driver
- Kingfisher Bay: Use of the barge and crew
- Hervey Bay Fencing: Wood to chock the pipes on the barge floor
- Wide Bay Water: Delivery of the pipes to the Urangan Marina
The pipes were dropped over the side on a line between the three ships cluster and the K'Gari wreck.