Carnarvon is one step closer to becoming home to WA’s newest artificial reef following recent consultation with Carnarvon’s recfishers and community leaders. The new reef will provide new and exciting fishing experiences in close proximity to town for families and tourists with small boats.
Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland and Operations Lead Matt Gillett met with locals at the Shire of Carnarvon’s council chambers to determine where the community wanted the highly-anticipated reef to be deployed. The town’s anglers also flagged what fish they would like to see at the artificial reef and this will inform the module design and layout.
Matt said there was plenty of community buzz about the reef’s implementation and anglers were particularly keen to target mulloway, mackerel, cod, pink snapper and cobia among other species. The general consensus was that people wanted access to sought-after big fish, generally caught far off shore, closer to town, said Matt. “There’s great anticipation within the community about what the reef will bring in terms of a fishing experience,” he said. “We know from other artificial reef projects in which we have been involved, placed in the right spot these structures can significantly increase fish productivity, diversity of species and create accessible fishing oases.
“To have an artificial reef off Carnarvon has been a long-held aspiration by the local community and we’re really excited for the next phase of the project which will involve seabed surveys.”
Announced last November, Carnarvon’s artificial reef will be funded through a $300,000 grant provided by the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund and the project is well supported by the Shire Council and the local Chamber of Commerce.
The reef will benefit Carnarvon’s fishers and encourage visiting fishers or those passing through to stay longer in the town helping boost the local economy. With the reef’s exact location yet to be determined, Tuesday’s meeting was important in consulting with the Carnarvon fishing community about its ideal location. The reef is likely to be based far enough out from Carnarvon to create thrilling fishing, but also close enough for small boats and families to safely enjoy. There are six artificial reefs already deployed along WA’s coastline at Bunbury, Dunsborough, Rottnest Island, Mandurah, Exmouth and Esperance.
The long-awaited northern metropolitan reef is also progressing with deployment scheduled for later this year. All of the deployed reefs have created terrific marine habitat and have become home to a raft of quality fish species creating popular fishing playgrounds.