Westport announcement – questions on potential “catastrophic impacts” on Cockburn Sound remain unanswered

Recfishwest continues to have serious concerns about the future of the environment, fish stocks and fishing in Cockburn Sound following the Government’s latest announcement on the final location and design for its Westport development on land adjacent to Anketell Road in Kwinana.

The development planned for 2032, subject to environmental approval, will see a new 18-metre-deep shipping channel carved out through the heart of the Sound taking with it substantial seagrass meadows on Success and Parmelia banks and risks smothering the rest of the Sound with a blanket of sediment dooming the remaining seagrass.

The water quality and habitat of Cockburn Sound is critical to underpinning marine life and fish stocks key to the great and accessible fishing enjoyed by tens of thousands in the Perth community.

“Cockburn Sound is a critical area for fishing and contains key spawning grounds for many popular species,” said Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland.

“We are still none the wiser after today’s announcement about how the Westport development will impact on the Sound, its habitat, and the marine life it supports. For example, tens of millions of tonnes of sediment will need to be extracted to form the 10km-long northern entrance channel and the potential catastrophic impact of this on a range species remains unknown and unanswered”.

“The Cockburn Sound marine science program is yet to publish a single report, which begs the question – how has this science informed today’s port design announcement?”


“Pressing ahead on this project without the science would be reckless and a huge disservice to tens of thousands of fishers and the Perth community as a whole.

“To date the information provided to the community around this planned development has been very poor. The Government needs to do much better – the community deserves it and the stakes are too high.”

A detailed map showing the Wesport plans including the proposed new shipping channel.

What you can do to help protect our fishing in the Sound

  • Join our Cast of Thousands as a Recfishwest member if you haven’t already – help strengthen our ability to advocate on behalf of WA’s 700,000 fishers on this and a number of other key issues that affect our fishing.
  • Keep tuned into our channels and informed on this issue – so when the time comes you are in a strong position to submit your views as the part of the Environmental Review process.
  • Get involved in initiatives like Seeds for Snapper and help with the ongoing restoration of Cockburn Sound’s critical seagrass meadows.
It’s fantastic family fishing experiences like these in Cockburn Sound that Recfishwest is fighting to protect

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