Fish-friendly breakwalls

A scene from a grassy hill looking down onto a harbour with moored and mountains in the

A view of the Coffs Harbour marina from Muttonbird Island. The island is connected to the mainland by the harbour’s northern breakwater, which is used by more than 100,000 people each year. Photo by: Patrick Dwyer.


Breakwaters and training walls are large structures built of rock or concrete and positioned in the coastal zone. They are important for NSW coastal communities as they help to:

  • control where and how rivers meet the sea
  • create harbours, marinas and safe ports
  • protect some foreshores from erosion.

Many of these breakwaters are more than 100 years old and their design did not take into account how they would affect the environment.

This action aims to design breakwaters that deliver better outcomes for both the environment and people. It will include finding ways to make breakwaters:

  • friendly for marine life
  • safer for people with better access for fishing and recreation.

Latest news

  • 20 Mar 2020 - Brains trust meets to discuss breakwaters - A group of Australia’s foremost marine infrastructure experts met in Ballina to discuss options for making NSW’s breakwaters better for both people and wildlife.

Lead agency

Department of Primary Industries - Fisheries (DPI-F)


  • Southern Cross University
  • GHD


To find out more, contact:

Patrick Dwyer


Page last updated/reviewed: 21 Sep 2020