More artificial reefs plus more FADs equals even better fishing this summer!

Fast facts:

  • Long-awaited metro reef gets the green light for early 2021, 7km off Ocean Reef;
  • First modules poured for Carnarvon Reef  with consultation about to begin for Albany artificial reef;
  • Second year of FADs trial program about to launch in the bottom half of the State, including FADs going in off Geraldton.

Today, Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland joined the Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley at Subcon — Blue Solutions’ yard in Henderson to announce that the long-awaited north metro artificial reef has got the green light for deployment 7km off Ocean Reef in early 2021.

So, it’s not every day you get a new fishing spot given to you for free – but if you’ve got a boat and you fish in the metro area, get these coordinates in your plotter now!

This is the centre-point for the new north metro ‘array’ off Ocean Reef. To be based in 27m of water, the reef will be comprised of 292 purpose-designed concrete modules ranging in height from 0.7m to 1.8m and cover an area of 15ha – that’s a space roughly equivalent to four Optus Stadiums.

Constructed by Subcon — who have a strong track-record in artificial reef design and deployment across Australia — this will be the seventh artificial reef to be deployed across WA.

“Experience shows it won’t be long at all before the modules accumulate marine growth that will quickly begin to support new fish habitat,” said Dr Rowland.

“With species like pink snapper, yellowtail kingfish, Samson fish and skippy predicted to make the reef system home, it won’t be long either before the reef is creating safe and accessible, great new fishing opportunities for small boat owners.

“We know these structures evolve quickly as habitat through our Reef Vision program which sees hours of video footage collected by volunteers using underwater cameras dropped on artificial reefs capturing the structures’ development.”

Check out our latest Reef Vision footage from Exmouth’s King Reef at the two-year point in its development.   

“We’d like to have seen the north metro reef go in sooner than this, as there has been a great appetite for it from the local recfishing community – but securing Commonwealth environmental approvals for the reef was held up for a number of reasons including COVID.

School students Stephanie King and Ellen King join Subcon’s Matt Allen, Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland and Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley having helped construct the reef modules as part of the Future Englneers program. Picture: Recfishwest

“Nevertheless, we have got here and the deployment of the metro reef will mark a great start to 2021, as well as the beginning of the next chapter in the State-wide artificial reef program.”

This exciting stage sees consultation beginning with the Albany community next month about their artificial reef project and the first Carnarvon artificial reef modules being poured.

Also, bubbling away in the background is research and discussions with oil and gas companies around the possibility of reefing some of their marine infrastructure on the North West artificial shelf which already holds a spectacular array of fish biomass and biodiversity as Fisheries Research and Development Corporation recently reported.

Meanwhile, Recfishwest are preparing to kick off the second year of our trial State-wide FADs program which, building on from the success and lessons learnt from last year’s run, will see FADs going in off the metro, Cape Naturaliste and Albany.

“I am also very pleased to let you know we will be deploying FADs off Geraldton this year, with the devices expected to be going in the water in December,” Dr Rowland said.

“We’ll be bringing you more details about the FADs deployment in the next couple of weeks – but just with artificial reefs and FADs alone, there are already some exciting fishing enhancing developments in the pipeline. We’re also working hard to deliver some other projects this summer too – so stay tuned and watch this space.”

Yellowtail kingfish are set to get reels zinging at Ocean Reef’s artificial reef!