Ar­ti­fi­cial reefs catch funds

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr

The North West’s im­age as a world­class 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.

“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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