If you live in the Sydney region and your property has a jetty or floating pontoon, please support this project by filling in an expression of interest form.


The challenge

Sydney Harbour is home to over 3000 marine species, including over 586 types of fish, however, it is also listed among the most polluted and modified harbours in the world. Coastal development has seen over 50% of the harbour’s natural shoreline lost, negatively impacting the quantity and quality of fish habitat.

Despite the progress made in recent decades to improve the water quality, the harbour’s industrial past, combined with a highly urbanised catchment and aging sewage and stormwater infrastructure, means that it still suffers from heavy metal and chemical contamination, as well as frequent sediment and nutrient pollution.

As a result, essential feeding and nursery areas for fish have decreased, and this loss is expected to have a substantial impact on recreational fish populations in the harbour. 

An innovative way to support native fish and improve water quality

Jetties and pontoons are abundant along the shorelines of the harbour and, unfortunately, can have a negative impact on marine ecosystems due to the shading they create, which reduces the abundance of habitat beneath them. Installing habitat units will support habitat growth and contribute back to the natural ecosystem, while helping to offset some of the issues shading creates. 

This project will see Sydney Harbour Chapter, recreational fisher volunteers and the local community come together to help design, build, and monitor low-cost habitat units. They will be made solely from natural fibre rope, untreated hardwood timber and stainless-steel fittings to ensure we do not introduce any further rubbish, pollution or contaminants into the harbour. 


Fish Habitat Unit Design

The fish habitat units will be designed and custom fit to suit the infrastructure and environmental conditions of the donor private jetties and floating pontoons where they will be suspended. Over time, these structures will encourage and support the growth of seaweed, shellfish, and sponge species that in turn provide shelter, and create a food source for fish, as well as improving water quality in Sydney Harbour.

Our pilot study site in Kirribilli will trial the use of several structure designs that have been selected due to their ability to achieve the following criteria: 

  • Capacity to create internal cavities (use by small fish and invertebrates to shelter from predators) 
  • Ability to maximise surface area (provides opportunities for colonisation by molluscs, crustaceans, algae, sponges, and corals) 
  • Cost of materials 
  • Ease of structure assembly 
  • Ease of structure installation and transport by boat 
  • Use of natural materials and plastic avoidance 

If you want to keep up to date with this project and not miss out on any upcoming volunteer opportunities, become an OzFish Sydney Harbor Chapter member today!


Latest News on Pimp My Jetty

16 NOVEMBER 2023 |Pimp My Jetty to make a splash at Sydney Harbour and Lake Macquarie

Sydney Harbour and Lake Macquarie are two of the most famous fishing locations in NSW and they are about to get a big helping hand from OzFish Unlimited in the form of the Pimp My Jetty project.  After launching successful projects in the Peel-Harvey estuary near Mandurah in Western Australia and on the Gold Coast, OzFish is holding workshops for private jetty owners who want to install an environmentally friendly hanging habitat unit in their backyard.  The low-cost fish habitat units are made from natural fibre rope and timber, and they are suspended underneath jetties and pontoons with the aim of creating additional shelter and food for fish to enhance biodiversity of existing urban structures.  OzFish, Australia’s recreational fishing conservation charity, kicked off

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26 March 2023 | Pimp My Jetty Heads To The East Coast

Shellfish reefs are essential for healthy aquatic ecosystems and have a key role to play in filtering pollutants and nutrients from the water, improving the overall health of a waterway. However, due to overharvesting, siltation, development, and disease, it is estimated that 95% of shellfish reefs have been lost from across South East Queensland. In an effort to restore these vital habitats, members of OzFish Gold Coast Chapter are bringing an innovative shellfish restoration project to Australia’s East Coast.

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The project was made possible by support from the Help Our Waterways Concert held in February 2022 and BCF – Boating, Camping, Fishing.