Constructed reefs are a proven tool for helping restore or enhance commercial or recreational fisheries and monitoring is an important method to determine the return on investment for fisheries management.
However, common sampling methods are labour intensive, provide only relative abundance measures and typically only monitor a small section of a constructed reef; results may or may not be representative of other parts of the reef.
Visual counts of fishes along transects by divers or remote video are limited by visibility and the tendency of some fish species to avoid divers. In addition, traditional methods tend to report only fish type and abundance and rarely report biomass, a particularly important indicator for fishing reefs.
Government decision makers and fishery managers often need to justify expenditure on constructing reefs. One way of helping justify expenditure is by estimating the fish biomass or biomass density that the constructed reefs are supporting and contributing to the area.
SOI has partnered with Hydrobiology to trial a digital split beam sonar system as a tool to help estimate fish biomass density on and around constructed reefs. See our Tech Note 3 below for more details.
>>Click here to download Tech Note 3 - Hydroacoustic Sampling to Estimate Fish Biomass on Artificial Reefs
Determining essential juvenile habitat for key commercial fish in the Arabian Gulf via elemental analysis of otoliths
SOI is conducting a small pilot study to first determine if natural markers are present in the otoliths of three common commercial species caught in the Arabian Gulf. From this pilot study we will determine the direction of future research. The aim is to help identify critical habitat for commercial fish and use this knowledge to improve the effectiveness of artificial reef programs designed to restore and enhance fisheries.
Other areas of research include:
Recognition of contribution, advances in technology and strategies to reduce or repair the impact on our oceans.
‘Sustainable Ocean Innovation Award’
(We also support Masters or PhD students or other individuals making a positive contribution to furthering the science of restoration and sustainable design).
GhostNets Australia wins Sustainable Ocean Innovation 2012!
The award goes to GhostNets Australia for their amazing program in northern Australia tackling the serious problem of lost fishing nets called 'ghost nets'.
GhostNets Australia has set up an effective cooperative alliance of Indigenous communities with over 150 rangers from these communities who regularly patrol their coastlines to locate, remove and record ghost nets, as well as rescue entangled wildlife where possible.
Read full media release
Sydney Architect Wins Inaugural Sustainable Ocean Innovation Award 2010
A project that uses a revolutionary method for the design and manufacture of constructed reefs has won the inaugural 2010 Award for Sustainable Ocean Innovation. Director of Sustainable Oceans International, David Lennon, announced that architect James Gardiner won the award at the exhibition of James’ work at Customs House in Sydney.
“This process has the potential to revolutionise the effectiveness of constructed reefs,” said David. “Reefs are diverse and topographically complex structures. Current artificial reef modules used to replace damaged reef structure are effective but tend to provide only moderate complexity and often look artificial. It is usually too costly to cast a range of different modules to create the complexity required to mimic a natural coral reef. This technology enables us to create reef modules that have a complexity similar to a healthy coral reef.”
As part of his PhD research at RMIT, James, Director of Faan Studio, interviewed over 80 companies globally including NASA, Boeing, BAE Aerospace and IKEA Homes to study advances in prefabrication technology. It was from this exposure to leading manufacturing technologies that lead James to a new way of constructing reef units.
“I have designed a system for creating houses with this technique and I thought I should turn my attention to something that could really make a difference to the environment” said James.
Sustainable Oceans International, an international marine consultancy specialising in artificial reef design for impact mitigation and reef restoration, offers the annual Award for Sustainable Ocean Innovation to recognise and promote innovation that helps mitigate marine impacts or restore degraded marine ecosystems.
“We are really excited that the inaugural award has gone to someone who has seen an opportunity to maintain marine biodiversity and then set out to demonstrate its feasibility. This innovative thinking has the potential to advance reef restoration and coastal development to the next level” said David. “Sustainable Ocean’s goal is better design below the waterline.”
The award opens nationally in June and is awarded in November each year.
The project – ‘(in)human habitat: rethinking the artificial reef’ is on display at Customs House in Circular Quay (Sydney) until mid January 2011 as part of the Open Agenda exhibition.
We also recognise that there are many worthwhile conservation projects being conducted by NGO’s that have limited funding.
Therefore we have setup a ‘Special Projects Fund’ that sponsors worthwhile projects with cash and/or reduced consulting rates.
For example SOI has a company policy where staff can allocate 20% of their time to worthy projects at no charge. This can help worthwhile projects obtain valuable input, guidance and assistance with project design or funding proposals that then help their project succeed.
Examples of Special Projects we've conducted
Bali - site visit, dives, review and recommendations for the LINI artificial reef program in North Bali. This artificial reef program is designed to help the local aquarium fish collectors and reduce pressure on natural reefs. A video summary of our main recommendations can be seen below.
If you are interested in funding or collaborating on research, we'd love to hear from you.