Artificial reef to lure anglers
Recreational fishers will be able to fish sustainably well into the future with the instalment of an artificial reef between Black Island and Lion Island in the bay east of Esperance.
The artificial reef, which will cover 11,000 cubic metres, is made of 128 concrete modules designed to suit a range of species to facilitate the creation of a new ecosystem and boost fish stocks.
The project was born out of an idea about six years ago by the East Coast Recreational Fishing Council to provide a safer fishing experience closer to shore, and has been backed by the Esperance Deep Sea Angling Club.
Recfishwest operations manager Leyland Campbell said the reefs could be seven times more productive than natural reef systems.
“Natural reefs are lumps of limestone, these are similar and allow fish to travel between them and add rich nutrients to the water to kick start the food chain,” he said.
“This reef will benefit not only the Esperance community but also the fishermen who travel from Kalgoorlie and will provide a location close to shore for safe recreational fishing.”
On Thursday, international enhanced reefs company Subcon began installing the artificial reefs.
The project has provided jobs for a range of local businesses including former Esperance resident Grant Farris, owner of Guardian Offshore, whose 50m boat will be used to install the reefs.
Mr Campbell said Recfishwest had focused on purpose built reefs during the last five years with ones built in Busselton, Bunbury, Mandurah, Rottnest and Exmouth.
Esperance fishermen will monitor the development of the reefs over the coming years and all data collected will be analysed by marine biologists.
The $600,000 project was funded by the Goldfields-Esperance Development Commission recreational grants scheme, funded by Royalties for Regions, the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund, and supported by Recfishwest.
An artificial reef will be built between Black and Lion islands, near Esperance.