The touted Albany artificial reef is closer to reality, after Recfishwest met with Great Southern recfishers and community leaders at the portside town last week to identify possible locations.
In exciting news for recfishers, three potential sites for Albany’s artificial reef have been selected – all of which are relatively close to shore at spots safely accessible by small boats.
Three locations identified
An artificial reef off Albany was first flagged by Premier Mark McGowan and Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley, alongside Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland, when the multi-million-dollar recfishing COVID recovery package was unveiled in August.
Recfishwest is now pushing ahead with the reef’s planning, with Recfishwest Operations Lead Matt Gillett and Operations Officer Mike Minutillo travelling to Albany for the initial phase of community consultation last Wednesday and Thursday.
As part of the Great Southern trip, Matt and Mike met with Albany Boating and Fishing Club members, various tackle store representatives and community members to identify potential locations.
They also consulted with Department of Transport, Albany Port Authority and City of Albany officials regarding the anticipated fishing development.
Creating fish abundance
Matt said the Albany artificial reef presented a thrilling prospect for many Great Southern fishers with Samson fish, skippy, yellowtail kingfish and even pink snapper expected to inhabit the structure.
“Once deployed, the reef will plug the gap between Geographe Bay and Esperance along our network of six artificial reefs which are already off the State’s coast,” he said.
“With three locations identified and recommended by the local fishing community, we will now investigate further to pinpoint the best possible spot to deploy the reef.
“Basing this reef close to shore and close to boating access points will be ideal for small boat owners, in particularly young fishing families, to get out and safely enjoy great fishing without having to travel too far.”
Recfishwest will be carrying out a full consultation around the artificial reef with the local community early in the new year.
More reefs, more fishing playgrounds
Recfishwest have deployed artificial reefs off Esperance, Dunsborough, Bunbury, Mandurah, Rottnest Island and Exmouth – all of which now boast amazing fishing opportunities.
The program is set to expand with another artificial reef to be deployed off Ocean Reef early next year and the Gascoyne fishing community is also eagerly anticipating their reef off Carnarvon.
With the State Government’s recfishing COVID recovery package committing to fund three new artificial reefs, including the Albany structure, Matt said it was an exciting time for WA’s fishers.
“Artificial reefs are proven in terms of improving fishing experiences – the extensive experience Recfishwest has built up in this space working closely with the community helps underpin that the quality of those experiences,” Matt said.
“From our other artificial reef projects, we know that a reef based in the right spot will potentially boost fish productivity, diversity of species and create accessible fishing oases.”