Ar­ti­fi­cial reef to lure an­glers

Kalgoorlie Miner - - NEWS - Zoe Keenan

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.

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