SCIENTISTS have created a detailed map of shipwrecks off Newcastle's coast during their hunt for suitable sand sources to renourish Stockton beach.
New deputy premier Paul Toole told the Newcastle Herald that the data would form part of a detailed report to be completed this year to help determine the best solution for the erosion crippled beach.
Mr Toole, who is also the minister responsible for resources, said the shipwrecks off Stockton in the late 1800s and early 1900s was a key consideration for the government geoscientists who mapped the seabed earlier this year.
"In addition to the three sand sources the NSW government announced in July, we now have a current record of the precise locations of some of the most remarkable and important shipwrecks in Newcastle's history," he said.
"These stories are significant pieces of Newcastle's history and our state, and it was important this was included in my department's report to help the City of Newcastle decide its next steps."
No timeline on the remediation project has been set.
Mr Toole said the government's focus was on continuing to work with City of Newcastle to ensure the project was carried out effectively.
Over the past 200 years 50 or more vessels have been stranded on Stockton Bight.
"The NSW government put together a team of top geoscientists who worked with a heritage database and local dive operators to identify and chart the locations of wreckages in Stockton Bight," he said.
"Their work provided a detailed record, revealing stories about the region's maritime past along the way."
The wreckages include the Yarra Yarra, the Adolphe, the Berbice and our most recent major shipwreck - the Sygna.
"Take the Yarra Yarra for example, which tragically saw eighteen lives lost when the vessel was struck by a tremendous wave, heeled over and sank by the stern," Mr Toole said.
Under current legislation, offshore sand is classified as a mineral and its exploration and recovery from NSW coastal waters requires an exploration licence and mining licence respectively, under the Offshore Minerals Act 1999.
An exploration licence to identify suitable sand was granted in February, funded from $1 million announced by the NSW government for Stockton beach in March last year.
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