Local anglers and recfishing tourists will soon benefit from a new safe fishing experience off Esperance, with the State Government's latest artificial reef now fully installed.
The 150 tonne reef, made up of 128 concrete modules, has been deployed over an area twice the size of the Ports Football Oval in Esperance. Community volunteers helped construct the modules which are now positioned across more than 11,000 square metres of seabed.
Located about five kilometres south-east of Bandy Creek in an area with good access for small craft, it will provide a convenient and safe location for fishers. The artificial reef will create a new ecosystem and marine food web for nearshore, demersal and pelagic finfish species.
The project received $595,000 of funding from the State Government through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund and Regional Grants Scheme.
Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly said, "Like other artificial reef projects around WA, it won't be long before fishers are hooking into the benefits the new Esperance artificial reef are expected to provide. This will be another chance for Recfishwest's successful 'Reef Vision' citizen science program to monitor how various fish species are using the artificial reef. Through the program, the community will be armed with Baited Remote Underwater Video cameras, similar to what volunteers in the South-West, Mandurah and Exmouth are already using to keep an eye on their artificial reefs. This project, funded from recreational fishing licence money, will also provide a boost to recfishing tourism in the Esperance region - which will in turn support the local economy."
Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said, "This project has helped the Esperance economy, with all construction materials and labour procured locally, and we applaud the spirit of the local volunteers who rolled up their sleeves to pour the concrete to build the reef modules. The innovative design will attract fish within hours, and by 12 months will also be home to algae and sponges that will colonise the specially designed modules. Recfishwest and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development have supported the reef and it's been funded through fishing licence fees and WA's Regional Grants Scheme, with benefits that will not only help the local community but also Esperance tourism."