Fishers to welcome new artificial reefs

Tom ZaunmayrPilbara News

The North West’s image as a world-class recreational fishing region is set to get a further boost with the installation of artificial reefs to improve options for small vessels.

The State Government has announced a new near-shore artificial reef for the Exmouth Gulf funded through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund.

About a third of the funding, $500,000, has also been earmarked, for a large offshore reef near Dampier to help the City of Karratha leverage the remaining funds.

City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said the City was currently mulling over costs and benefits of the potential reef before giving it the go-ahead.

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“Once this more detailed work on the possible scope and costs is complete, (the) council will make a decision on whether to proceed with the project or not,” he said.

“Our waters are already known for their fantastic fishing and are a big liveability factor for residents and an attractor for tourists.

“An artificial reef could be an enhancement to our natural fishing assets, however more detailed scoping and consultation is required before (the) council can assess the merits of the project.”

Exmouth Game Fishing Club spokeswoman Jeni Gates said the artificial reef off Exmouth would answer years of calls for more fads to be placed out off the coast.

“I think it’s good for young kids basically being able to go out and not go far at all to fish,” she said.

Recfishwest chief executive Andrew Rowland said artificial reefs provided quality fish habitat in areas where people would normally need to travel excessive distances or venture into rough waters.

“The Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund has provided our great State with over $7 million of fishing projects that benefit WA fishers while having additional tangible outcomes for fish habitats, the environment and research,” he said.

“We ask WA fishers where they want their licence money spent and artificial reefs continually come out towards the top of the list.

“A lot of people are now seeing the great fishing on the existing South West and Mandurah artificial reefs and if we can transfer those great fishing experiences to other regional hubs Statewide, it will be a huge boost for localised tourism as well as a win for fish habitats.”

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