FISH HAVEN: Subcon project manager Jack Francis with the pyramids, made in Gladstone, which will make up an artificial reef at Hervey Bay.
FISH HAVEN: Subcon project manager Jack Francis with the pyramids, made in Gladstone, which will make up an artificial reef at Hervey Bay. Paul Braven

Artificial reef being built for recreational fishers

RECREATIONAL fishers and divers in Hervey Bay will soon benefit from an artificial reef that is being built in Gladstone.

Thirty concrete reef pyramids are being poured in a MIPEC-owned yard in Alf O'Rourke Drive by West Australian company Subcon.

The pyramids, each 5m x 4m x 4m, will form a total of 10 reefs at two locations off the coast at Hervey Bay.

The work has been commissioned by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

When originally announced at the beginning of 2014, the project was expected to cost about $1.5 million.

It will be the second such project undertaken by Subcon - the first being a reef which is now attracting shoals of fish south of Wollongong in New South Wales.

The 23-tonne pyramids will be lowered to the sea floor at the 16-metre mark.

They have been designed to sit on the sandy sea floor and withstand 1-in-100 year storms without moving.

Subcon project manager Jack Francis said the pyramids were designed and the formwork manufactured by the company at its headquarters in Perth.

Constructed of fibreglass-reinforced concrete, the first pyramid was poured into the formwork on April 11 and the last is expected to be completed by the end of May.

Mr Francis said the normal timeframe for the job was to complete one pyramid every day.

"It takes about nine hours to build the formwork each time; the concrete cures in the form for 12 hours; and it take another few hours to strip off the formwork," he said.

Once completed, the pyramids will be shipped by MIPEC barge to Hervey Bay where Subcon will be responsible for placing them.

Mr Francis said Subcon, a company which usually works in the oil and gas industry - especially on offshore projects - decided to take on the construction of artificial reefs as a way to diversify its operation, given that development in oil and gas has slowed recently.

The 30 pyramids

  • Weight: 23 tonnes
  • Height: 5m
  • Width: 4.4m
  • 11cu m of concrete
  • Sunk to a depth of 16m