Environmental watchdog backs protecting Exmouth Gulf’s wilderness fishing experience

Carefully observing the extended sand flat’s clear waters for predators patrolling the shallows. Permit, bonefish, giant herring, queenfish and many brute trevally species are lurking nearby, ready to take your fly or lure.

No one else is in sight. This is WA wilderness fishing at its peak. This is Exmouth Gulf.

Glenn Edwards is among fishers who love immersing themselves in the Gulf’s wilderness experience.

Exmouth Gulf is hugely important for WA fishers in the Gascoyne and beyond, with the unique and easily accessible wilderness fishing experience it offers.

With its fish-rich shallow waters, mangrove-lined creek system, numerous shoals and scattered reef, it’s a magnet for dedicated sportfishers targeting a plethora of species in a spectacular and secluded setting.

That’s why the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) findings about the potential cumulative impacts of industrial activities and developments proposed for Exmouth Gulf are great news for fishers.

The EPA’s report, released last Friday, recognised:

  • The key amenity values of Exmouth Gulf include wilderness qualities and the local community’s ability to access and use the Gulf for recreational activities;
  • Any future activities and development must be compatible with the protection of the key values; and
  • An integrated management approach is required to ensure the conservation and enhancement of the key values of Exmouth Gulf.

Read the EPA’s report in full here

Queenies are just one of many sought-after species on offer to avid sportfishers in the Exmouth Gulf.

Industrialising the Gulf – a ludicrous thought

“As we have consistently said the thought of developing an industrial footprint over one of the WA’s most accessible and unspoilt fishing areas is ludicrous,” Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said.

In September, we asked: ‘Why put this precious wilderness experience at risk?’ when the EPA’s cumulative impact study was announced.

“In our submission to the study, we strongly made the case that the prized fishing Exmouth Gulf has to offer is underpinned by its wilderness value and it’s great that the EPA has specifically acknowledged this. Furthermore, the EPA appears to share our view that industrialisation of the Gulf would compromise that wilderness quality.

“Indeed, the EPA’s recommendation that future activities and developments in the Gulf be compatible with the protection of key values is a principle that should apply to developments everywhere.

“Now, as active contributors into this EPA review process, Recfishwest looks forward to continuing in future discussions about how the values provided by Exmouth Gulf can be protected, forever.”