THE proposed Ocean Reef Marina development could have a disastrous impact on abalone stocks north of the site, according to North Metro Greens MLC Alison Xamon.
She recently told Parliament she had been approached by representatives of the commercial abalone fishing industry with concerns about the future of the reef.
“The 3.5km abalone reef just north of the proposed site contains 40 per cent of abalone stocks in the Perth metropolitan area,” she said.
“The current flows north close to Perth’s shoreline, so any impacts will be to the north of the development site.”
Ms Xamon said past marina builds had seen localised collapses of abalone stocks that had been substantially larger than anticipated.
“The professional fishers have told me the Mindarie Marina was expected to affect 200m of reef but instead abalone for commercial fishing was wiped out across the 1.2km reef,” she said.
“Abalone were not expected to be impacted at all by the construction of Two Rocks marina but all abalone stocks were lost on the reef 600m north of the site.
“We do not know why the abalone are dying and there has not been enough research undertaken.”
LandCorp acting chief executive Dean Mudford said a significant number of environmental studies had been completed to “ensure we fully understand the potential impact of the future development on local abalone habitats”.
“This includes hydrodynamic modelling to comprehend potential changes in environmental conditions which may impact abalone, which was subject to independent expert peer review,” he said.
“These studies are a part of the wider public environmental review – the highest level of environmental assessment in WA – which was advertised publicly for comment and is being assessed by the Environmental Protection Authority.
“Ongoing monitoring of the abalone habitats will also be undertaken and, if required, additional measures will be put in place to ensure the abalone population is maintained.”
Ms Xamon said while there was a commitment to monitoring abalone stocks, there were no guarantees the species would not suffer adverse consequences and once stocks were gone, they were very unlikely to recover.
“This is now the main commercial abalone fishery in the Perth metropolitan area,” she said.
“It is imperative this development meets the highest possible standards of environmentally sensitive design to protect the state’s remaining natural heritage.”
Mr Mudford said LandCorp would ensure it followed best practice to ensure environmental impacts wee minimised throughout the development.