Important fishing access is set to be restored for fishers to the south of Bunbury, after the McGowan Government revealed it was committing funds to help rebuild the Leschenault Estuary’s jetty.
The jetty – an important land-based fishing spot for locals who know it as the SCM Jetty – has been closed since January this year due to structural concerns cited by the Shire of Harvey and Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER).
As a result, Australind and Eaton fishers have been unable to access the SCM Jetty to wet a line for tailor and herring or drop crab nets for the majority of this year.
Recfishwest is pleased to report both ministers came through for the fishing community, revealing yesterday the State Government is set to commit $3 million to rebuilding the SCM Jetty.
For Australind and Eaton fishers, this was very welcome news.
Recfishwest Operations Officer Sam Russell and Communications Officer Zach Relph, who both grew up in Australind, spent countless hours fishing from the jetty.
“For us, the SCM was the ideal fishing location – literally just a 10-minute bike ride from our homes and we had access to the Leschenault Estuary’s top-quality fishing,” Sam said.
“Whether it’s catching tailor at the end of the jetty on a balmy summer night before getting a few cobbler or using mussels from the pylons to catch King George whiting in the winter, the jetty is an awesome fishing platform.
“Many fishers from Australind and Eaton, Zach and I included, cut their teeth fishing from the safe and accessible structure.
“The loss of this land-based fishing accessibility since January has been a big blow for Australind and Eaton fishers, particularly youngsters.
“That’s why it’s great to know the next generation of Australind and Eaton fishers will be able to also enjoy fishing from the SCM thanks to this commitment.”
The importance of jetties
The jetty got its moniker the ‘SCM jetty’ from being located adjacent to what was once SCM Chemicals’ titanium dioxide plant — which is now owned by Tronox – on Old Coast Road.
Independent consultants carried out an assessment of the SCM Jetty’s structural integrity in May this year, the Government’s statement noted.
The consultant’s report identified several significant structural issues with the pier and the wooden bridges, requiring extensive remedial works before the public could use the jetty safely.
“A quality, safe fishing platform in Australind and about 10km from Bunbury is very important for the South West fishing community,” Sam said.
“Thanks to Jodie Hanns, the Collie-Preston MLA, who has been working hard to save the jetty and also ministers Kelly and Punch for recognising the importance of the jetty to the local community.
“Many jetties have been lost across the State over the years and that is why Recfishwest is welcoming this news.
“The pleasure and value these structures give as fishing platforms is simply priceless and every seaside town or town next to an estuary should have a jetty for local and visiting fishers.”