Charter boat operator calls for State Government to install artificial reef 8km off Mindarie Marina

Steve Lennox, owner of Mindarie Charters proposes a Artificial Reef for the Mindarie Marina. Photo: Matt Jelonek
Steve Lennox, owner of Mindarie Charters proposes a Artificial Reef for the Mindarie Marina. Photo: Matt Jelonek

A CHARTER boat operator is angling for the State Government to build an artificial reef 8km off Mindarie Marina.

Plans for a $1 million reef off the northern suburbs are currently out for public consultation. The State Government and Recfishwest are hoping to gauge where recreational fishers want it located.

Mindarie Charters owner Steve Lennox said the best areas of seabed offshore from Mindarie were locations five and six on Recfishwest’s consultation map.

Mr Lennox said they were about 30m deep and comprised coarse broken coral and sand, providing a resting bed for an artificial reef that pink snapper, baldchin groper and dhufish could colonise.

Steve Lennox, owner of Mindarie Charters proposes a Artificial Reef for the Mindarie Marina. Photo: Matt Jelonek

“As the seabed comes north from Perth past Mindarie, it transitions from fine sand to more coarse material that is ideal for anchoring a new reef that will replicate many of the healthy reef structures closer to the shoreline,” he said.

“The presence of good fish stocks in the area means that a new reef will be quickly colonised and become a significant recreational attraction for people in Mindarie, Quinns Rocks and Jindalee, as well as all the way to Yanchep.”

Recfishwest’s survey map identifies 13 possible sites for an artificial reef between North Beach and Yanchep. About half of them are located near fishing exclusion zones.

The map also shows locations that are not appropriate for the structure, with reasons ranging from being in Port Authority boundaries, marine parks, leading light zones, underwater cable protection zones, military exercise areas and near existing natural reefs.

The survey said while it might be possible to install a reef in the Two Rocks Commonwealth Marine Reserve, Recfishwest would prefer another location.

Mr Lennox said benefits of placing an artificial reef near boat ramps at Mindarie and Two Rocks included safe and quick access for those learning to fish and creating tourism opportunities for fishing and diving charter operators.

“An artificial reef about 8km offshore will be great for introducing kids to this exciting recreational activity,” he said.

“It will build local business and create jobs by allowing a range of different length tourism charters and encourage more people to purchase small boats and fishing equipment.”

Mr Lennox said artificial reefs also delivered a long-term safety benefit by allowing less experienced boat owners to develop boating skills in a near shore environment, such as how to use sonar and navigational equipment.

“It’s great that the consultation process by Recfishwest has started in order to select the reef location and we hope the local community will make its views known,” he said.

Information sessions are planned at Marmion Angling and Aquatic Club from 6.30pm on August 14 and Mindarie Sea Sports Club, based at Quinns Rocks Sports Club, from 6.30pm on August 22.

Visit www.recfishwest.org.au for information.

Parks Australia sets up marine parks committee

PARKS Australia has invited expressions of interest from people interested in being on the Australian Marine Parks advisory committee.

The committee will advise the Federal Government department on managing 58 marine parks around the country and its establishment follows the introduction of management plans that took effect on July 1.

The 882sq km Two Rocks Marine Park includes a 15sq km national park zone where commercial and recreational fishing is not allowed.

Visit www.parksaustralia.gov.au/marine for more information.