A new era for land-based fishing in Esperance as new jetty opens

The new Esperance Jetty is officially open at last, unlocking land-based fishing access to the town’s passionate recreational fishers.

More than 1,000 people flocked to the highly anticipated jetty opening on Sunday highlighting the structure’s importance to the community.

Recfishwest Operations Manager Leyland Campbell, who was at the historic opening, said the 415m-long jetty would replace much-needed land-based fishing access to local and visiting fishers following the demolition of the much-loved Esperance Tanker Jetty in 2019.

“An extensive fishing platform in close proximity to the Esperance town centre has always been an important part of the community, given the fishing provided to locals and visitors,” he said.

“Sadly, many jetties across the State have been lost over the years and we didn’t want that to be the case here – every seaside town should have a jetty for fishing, so it’s great Esperance once again has one.”

The historic jetty opening attracted thousands, including mad-keen fishers. Picture: Shire of Esperance

Better access for Esperance fishers

Recfishwest played a role in the design of the $7.5 million jetty, consulting with H+H Architects.

Recfishwest Programs Manager James Florisson – Esperance born-and-bred and a self-confessed “jetty rat” as a kid – put forward recommendations for fishing-specific features on the structure to maximise its fishing potential.

It includes:

  • A widened modern fishing jetty component which will allow enough space for fishers to fish either side of the gangway;
  • Lower platforms to accommodate fishing and diving access;
  • Fishability ‘set-downs’ to allow people in wheelchairs and scooters to fish easily from the jetty;
  • Jetty-based fish-cleaning station positioned over water;
  • Fish-friendly lighting to fishing areas; and
  • Fisher-friendly railings and built-in fishing seats.
Young Esperance locals were quick to get stuck into the fishing action at the jetty opening. Picture: Shire of Esperance

Recfishwest Research Officer Sam Bock, another former Esperance jetty rat, said the new structure would ensure town’s the next generation of fishers were hooked on fishing.

“As a youngster, myself – and James, too – we would spend hours upon hours at the old jetty fishing,” Sam said.

“The jetty was incredibly important because there aren’t many land-based options at Esperance, particularly close to town.

“With the land-based fishing access restored, I’m sure many kids will be out there chasing bread-and butter species and Sambos – it really is a great fishing structure.”

A town rejoices

There was community upheaval when it was revealed in December 2015, the Esperance Tanker Jetty, which opened in 1935, would be closed due to its declining condition.

The jetty had been an iconic fishing location for 80 years, with locals and holidaymakers alike fishing for many species including herring, skippy and squid.

The new jetty restores much-needed land-based fishing access at Esperance. Picture: Shire of Esperance