Home / Projects / Mangrove and Saltmarsh Restoration / The “Reel Big Fish” Mangrove Restoration, Western Port VIC

Restoring Mangroves in Western Port is a team effort 

OzFishers will be rolling up their sleeves, helping to restore mangroves in the Hastings region of Westernport, supporting the broader 100-hectare goal of the project. Restoration efforts will be focussed on areas surrounding established mangrove forest communities, which provide the greatest opportunity for plant survival and project success. 

Critically important fish habitat 

Western Port is a fishing destination visited by fishers from across Victoria, targeting Snapper, King George Whiting, Gummy Shark and Calamari. Recent studies collected 37 fish species in the mangroves of Western Port, with species richness being highest at the mangrove edge.

These mangrove stands also represent a major store and supply of biomass and nutrients for Western Port, forming the base of the food chain.  

The Western Port mangroves are close to the southernmost limit of mangrove vegetation. Historic harvesting, vegetation removal and fragmentation are serious threats to mangroves communities, and they need our help to prevent more losses. 

Western Port – east or west?  

At the time it was named, its position was west of other known ports and bays, but Western Port sits just to the east of Victoria’s Port Phillip and the City of Melbourne.

It’s a dynamic place, with strong tidal currents and two large central islands, French and Phillip Island. With its diverse birdlife, including migratory species, Western Port is listed under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international significance.  


20 September 2021 | How The Reel Big Fish Project Plans To Make A Real BIG Difference

We have all seen mangroves on our afternoon walk or while out fishing, but do we really know the role they play for the local fish populations? In a nutshell, Mangroves provide food and habitat to various species, from birdlife to many of our favourite recreational targeted fish. In estuaries all along the Australian coastline, we have mullet that eat decaying mangrove leaves, flathead that prey upon crabs and crustaceans that live around the submerged trees, and bread and butter species such as the King George whiting and Flounder that shelter within mangroves as juveniles.

Find Out More

The project is supported by the Port Phillip and Westernport CMA through funding from the Australian Governments’ Fisheries Habitat Restoration Program.