Vision of Exmouth artificial reef’s two-year evolution is fit for a King

In the two years since King Reef – Australia’s biggest artificial reef – was deployed off Exmouth, the local community and Recfiswest have watched with awe as it has developed into a flourishing fishing playground.

Red emperor, golden trevally, and even sailfish patrolling the topwater, are among the more than 100 species that now call the six steel reef towers and 49 mixed concrete reef modules home.

Exmouth Tackle and Camping‘s Steve Riley loves chasing pelagics at King Reef.

Being able to watch sensational footage of the reef’s evolution could only have been made possible by the countless hours our Reef Vision volunteers have put in deploying underwater video cameras on the reef, all in their own time.

Recfishwest Research Officer Steph Watts applauded their efforts and said fishers enjoying Exmouth’s quality fishing are reporting great catches on King Reef such as Spanish mackerel, trevally, tuna and queenies.

“The once-barren ocean floor has been revitalised into a thriving fishing oasis,” Steph said.

“Exmouth locals, and the town’s many visitors too, are having an awesome time fishing the reef, which can easily be reached by a small tinnie.

“The Reef Vision citizen science program helps us monitor all of our reefs to better understand how the different species are using the reef and how much fish biomass is on each reef.

“We’ve sifted through hours of underwater footage that our 30 keen Exmouth Reef Vision volunteers have recently recorded at King Reef and it’s too good not to share.”

WATCH: This is too good not to watch

From red emperor to estuary cod and coral trout, this vision gives Recfishwest insight into the many sought-after recfishing species which inhabit King Reef.

Lindsay Shaw with a great King Reef golden trevally!

Its rapid success in two short years illustrates how structures like this can create sensational habitat for many fish species, and provide sensational fishing that is accessible to everyone.

King Reef is a dramatic example of how artificial reefs can increase fish abundance, boost tourism in regional areas, are environment-friendly and, most importantly, provide more places to go fishing.

On behalf of Recfishwest, Steph thanked BHP for their support of the King Reef project and Reef Vision program.

“Recfishwest also gives a shoutout to Exmouth Game Fishing Club, Exmouth Tackle and Camping, Tackleworld Exmouth, Exmouth Volunteer Marine Rescue, Ningaloo Car and Boat Hire and Exmouth Men’s Shed for helping us collect this important footage,” she said.

Six in the water and more to come

With six reefs already deployed extending from Esperance to Exmouth and three more reefs in the pipeline for Ocean Reef in Perth’s north, Carnarvon and Albany, there is plenty of opportunity to drop a line on one of these reefs.

In addition, other opportunities are potentially opening up to transform North West underwater infrastructure into artificial reef complexes.

“Our reefing knowledge is evolving with every one of these projects we deliver, because the better we fine tune the process the better the fishing opportunities will be for our community,” Steph said.

Estuary cod at King Reef have put many reels to work!

“The prospect of tapping into the North West’s existing offshore infrastructure means we are really entering into an exciting new frontier for artificial reefs and fishing, paving the way for WA, and potentially the country.

“So much is on the horizon in the artificial reef space and we are certainly excited to see what the future holds.

“Given the success of our reefing developments, the Recfishwest team can’t wait to see what fish are on our existing and future reefs next.”

Keep snapping photos of your catch 📸

In addition to the great footage collected by Reef Vision, Recfishwest wants to continue to gather overwhelming evidence of fish abundance at King Reef — and we need your help!

Photographic evidence of the different fish species caught at the reef helps determine how well its faring. So, keep sharing photos of your catches at King Reef with us by emailing or tagging @recfishwest and #recfishwest on Instagram and Facebook!

Check out King Reef’s coordinates here!

Big red emperor and golden trevally call King Reef home!

Continue Reading

June 01, 2023

Recfishwest calls for Government fishery rethink with 78 charter fishing businesses on the brink

Following Government fishery management changes, 78 charter operators are facing the prospect of losing their businesses in the coming months with fishers aboard their vessels no longer able to fish for demersal…

Read More

May 31, 2023

Families flock to Denham to celebrate fishing in the Gascoyne at Shark Bay Fiesta

The hundreds of visitors from across WA and Australia, who ventured to Denham for the week-long Shark Bay Fiesta to celebrate all things fishing swelled the population of the coastal town by half!   For around 850…

Read More

May 31, 2023

Marine park planning mess stokes fears of south coast social and economic fall-out

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attraction’s (DBCA’s) marine park on the south coast has been in the headlines recently for all the wrong reasons. From shire council presidents, to leading members…

Read More

May 31, 2023

Fremantle Sailing Club saving money and potential lives with Recfishwest’s Community Grant

Recfishwest is proud to see one of the 16 recipient organisations receiving a Community Grant in 2023 – the Fremantle Sailing Club (FSC) – is saving money and potential lives by using a Recfishwest Community Grant…

Read More

May 30, 2023

Spotting sharks on your sounder to help reduce bite-offs

“The taxman”, “the men in grey suits” or just plain old “bloody sharks.” Whatever you call them, sharks biting off your prized catch as you bring it into the boat can be the bane of many fishers’ fishing trips…

Read More

May 05, 2023

West coast demersal $10m support package – a golden opportunity to support better decisions that cannot be missed

As the dust settles on the new fishing rules for west coast demersals, Recfishwest says the Government has got to get right the way $10 million of public money is spent on supporting the fishery. The Government…

Read More