NAPIER Port has received resource consent to develop an artificial reef 1.4km north east of Pania Reef, using limestone from a revetment wall that is to be dismantled as the company builds a new wharf.

Napier Port is working with LegaSea Hawke’s Bay, a group of recreational fishers dedicated to rebuilding Hawke’s Bay’s fish stocks, to create the reef.

Napier Port chief executive Todd Dawson said they were pleased some of the dismantled limestone would be used to help replenish fisheries and give back to the Hawke’s Bay community.

“It’s a great example of what we can do when we collaborate with others and balance environmental, cultural and economic success,” Mr Dawson said.

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Napier Port also worked with the Mana Whenua Steering Komiti – a group of local marae, hapū and mana whenua entities – and the wider Fisheries Liaison Group, which LegaSea forms part of.

LegaSea Hawke’s Bay spokesperson, Brian Firman, said the benefits of the reef should be seen soon after installation.

“This reef will help boost recreational fishing and diving opportunities by providing structure and habitat for a wide variety of marine life,” Mr Firman said.

“Just a few rocks in an otherwise sparse area will not only assist breeding and protection for juvenile fish, but support a surprising diversity of species, including shellfish, crayfish, seaweed and fish.”

The port also has resource consent to support a second reef about 24km from Pania Reef at the location of the “Gwen B” shipwreck. A barge-mounted excavator is to dismantle the rock revetment in stages and transfer it onto the barge for transportation to the reef.

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