THE region’s first purpose-built artificial reef is being created off the coast of Mandurah.
The reef was deployed 9km offshore, due west of Halls Head, in 25m of water, yesterday and work continues today .
Fisheries Minister Joe Francis said following the success of two artificial reefs off Bunbury and Dunsborough in 2013, the State Government had committed $1.1 million towards a third reef off Mandurah to improve recreational fishing opportunities.
“It will was created using 30 modules, each weighing 10 tonnes, which were designed to increase biodiversity while providing great fishing,’’ he said.
Mr Francis said many Western Australians flocked to Mandurah each year to fish for prized blue swimmer crabs and the reef would provide another reason to visit, as well as bringing flow-on benefits to local businesses.
“Fish such as pink snapper, samson and skippy are expected to be attracted to the reef once algae, seaweed and coral start growing on it.”
Extensive consultation was undertaken with groups including Recfishwest and the WA Fishing Industry Council to determine the best location for the reef.
Local companies have been supported in the project, with the reef modules built by the Australind-based MJB Industries and specialist marine engineering company Subcon contracted to deploy the reef.
The new reef has been funded from the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund, which draws on revenue collected from recreational licence fees.
Mr Francis said every dollar of recreational licence fee money was reinvested into recreational fishing, be it through artificial reefs, restocking projects, management, compliance or research.
Dawesville MLA Dr Kim Hames said one of the reasons fishing licences were introduced was to place licence fees paid into a dedicated fund for the purpose of making recreational fishing more sustainable into the future.
“This artificial reef is one of the initiatives the RFIF along with the restocking program has funded, so that a growing Mandurah population and tourists to Mandurah will benefit from the additional recreational fishing opportunities,” he said.
“The location of the reef is between the Dawesville Cut and the entrance to the Mandurah Marina.
“As an avid fisherman along with many others, I have been very eager to secure this initiative for Mandurah.”
Dr Hames also said the prime location has been carefully selected in consultation withthe Mandurah Offshore Fishing and Sailing Club and the Port Bouvard Recreation and Sporting Club Fishing Group along with a range of other agencies.