Artificial Reefs

Artificial reefs are rapidly shaping Western Australia’s coast line, with six reefs already deployed they are creating some sensational habitat for a plethora of fish species. These reefs combined provide over 140 000m2 and 1500 tonnes of fish habitat – which provide greater fishing opportunities for fishers. These reefs stretch from as far south as Esperance, right up to Exmouth! Our artificial reef experts, along with our trusted partners, have built extensive artificial reef capabilities and knowledge to ensure artificial reefs have a consolidated place in Western Australia’s ongoing conservation of important aquatic habitats.

Explore the various reefs on our interactive map where you can find out about the size, design and deployment of each reef and their development over the months as they initially begun with algae growth, then coral and sponges settle and form, beginning the creation of sensation habitat that attracts fish life making a sensational home for a variety of species. You can then grab the coordinates of each reef cluster and learn how to best fish each of them so you’re able to get the best experience when fishing the artificial reefs up and down WA!

Our supporting partners that are helping to make fishing better right across WA!

More About Our Reefs

Recfishwest has a long, trusted working relationship with state and federal governments, world-leading engineers and sub-sea infrastructure experts and, most importantly, with the community. We pride ourselves on using best practice scientific methods and public engagement to ensure maximised environmental and community benefits from all of our reef investments.

Artificial reefs are purpose built structures installed in aquatic environments (marine, estuarine, river or lake) for the purpose of creating, restoring or enhancing habitat for fish, fishing and other recreational activities. Artificial reefs mimic the characteristics of natural reefs by creating new habitats and providing shelter, feeding opportunities and varied changes to the water column.

“Artificial reefs provide a complex habitat for a range of different species. Once algae, corals and invertebrates make themselves at home, they produce additional biomass in the food chain, creating a food source for fish and other species”, Recfishwest Research Officer James Florisson

Artificial Reefs in Western Australia

Artificial reefs in Western Australia have been a product of community drive and passion with local fishers pushing for reef installations,  transforming areas devoid of bottom structure and habitat to underwater “oases”. The main source of reef funding to date has been through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund (RFIF), whereby 25% of fishing licences fees are invested into projects to benefit the community’s fishing experiences. To read more about RFIF projects click here.

Reefs are required to be of a certain volume in order to ensure they become habitat production devices, rather than simply drawing fish in from other areas.

Artificial reefs have also benefited the broader local community by supporting local businesses and the economy through increased fishing tourism. The artificial reefs provide not only an opportunity for ecological growth under the water, but also social and economic growth for the community.

To date six artificial reefs have been deployed in WA. In 2013 two artificial reefs were deployed off the coast of Dunsborough and Bunbury. Each of these reefs consist of thirty 10 tonne 3m3 concrete modules in six clusters of five aimed at providing habitat for target species such as Samson fish, Pink Snapper and Silver Trevally.

In April 2016 a third artificial was deployed off the Mandurah coast. This reef was constructed out of the same modules in the same configuration as the South West reefs. Finally in late 2016/early 2017 two giant steel ‘fish towers’ were deployed South of Rottnest Island near Perth. Each of these modules are 4 story’s high, weigh 70 tonnes each and due to their large amount of vertical habitat, provide shelter and food for a variety of different fish species.

August 2018 saw Australia’s first integrated artificial reef, King Reef, deployed in the safe waters of the Exmouth Gulf. Six re-purposed steel structures along with 49 concrete modules were deployed across 27,000 cubic metres of baron sea floor – equivalent to 11 Olympic size swimming pools. A partnership between Recfishwest, Subcon, BHP, National Energy Resources Australia (NERA) and the WA State Government meant West Australia had it’s first look at a reef concept never seen before Australia.

The local fishing community have real ownership of the development of artificial reefs as well as provide expert advice to maximise the fishing opportunities for everyone.

There is no doubt that the fishing community will continue to grow a sense of stewardship for artificial reefs as we see more and more deployed throughout Western Australia.

Artificial reefs in WA complement Western Australia’s robust and adaptive fisheries management approach ensuring fish stocks remain sustainable and great fishing experiences are protected forever.

Interesting Facts about Artificial Reefs

Will these reefs attract fish from other areas?

Artificial reefs mimic the characteristics of natural reefs. By creating new habitats, providing shelter and feeding opportunities, changing water flow dynamics and activating internal reef voids, purpose built reefs have been shown to be many times more productive than natural reef systems. It is common practice to ensure reef are larger than 800m3 in order to ensure they become habitat production devices, rather than simply drawing fish in from other areas. The 27,000m3 of new habitat used to create the Exmouth reef is more than 30 times larger than the volume required for a reef to be considered productive.

Why don’t you just make a tyre reef, use old cars or sink a ship?

Some artificial reefs used to be made from sunken ships, tyres and similar materials. While they do work to some degree, they can have some negative impacts on the marine environment including leaching of pollutants and stability issues. Tyre reefs have also proven to be a poor settlement medium meaning reefs made from tyres show limited growth and do not promote production. Poor positioning and management of these reefs has also resulted on materials becoming separated from the reef and damaging nearby natural reefs.

How do you monitor the reefs?

Recfishwest enlists the help of the community to monitor our artificial reefs through our world leading citizen science program called ‘Reef Vision’. Reef Vision uses baited underwater video camera’s to record the life on the reefs which is then analysed by research officers. Read more about Reef Vision by clicking here.

Locations

Artificial Reefs in Western Australia

Bunbury Artificial Reef

read more
  • Coordinates 33° 18.500'S 115° 35.900'E (centre point - see location details for each clusters coordinates)
  • Depth (metres) 17
  • Module Type 30 Fish Boxes and 90 Apollos, Abitats, and Reef Dome modules

Dunsborough Artificial Reef

read more
  • Coordinates 33° 33.962'S 115° 9.980'E (centre point - see location details for each clusters coordinates)
  • Depth (metres) 27
  • Module Type 30 Fish Boxes

Exmouth Artificial Reef

read more
  • Coordinates 21° 54.938'S 114° 11.235'E
  • Depth (metres) 17
  • Module Type Steel reef units/concrete modules; Apollo, Abitats, and Pyramids

Mandurah Artificial Reef

read more
  • Coordinates 32° 31.59'S 115° 34.98'E
  • Depth (metres) 25
  • Module Type Concrete Fish Boxes x 6 clusters of 5 modules (the location is the centre point between all the clusters)

Perth Fish Towers

read more
  • Coordinates Tower 1: 32° 07’.527 S, 115° 27’.013 E Tower 2: 32° 07’.461 S, 115° 26’.978 E
  • Depth (metres) 45
  • Module Type Lattice Steel Structure x2

Esperance Artificial Reef

read more
  • Coordinates 33° 52.2638'S 121° 58.834'E (mid point)
  • Depth (metres) 31
  • Module Type 128 Apollos, Abitats, and Reef Dome modules

Bunbury Artificial Reef

In January of 2013 the first purpose-built artificial reef in Western Australia was unveiled by the Minister for Fisheries. The $2.38 million investment saw the establishment the State’s first artificial reef trial on the South West coast off Bunbury and Dunsborough, with an aim to increase habitat for key fish species. Royalties for Regions program funding and $520,000 from recreational licencing revenue enabled the artificial reef initiative to come to fruition.

The reef’s fishable area will be increased by 50%, with 90 small-scale concrete modules recently added in 2019 to the original 30 ten tonne ‘Fish Boxes’, that were deployed in 2013. These smaller modules will help interlink the six existing clusters that are each made up of 5 ‘Fish Boxes’.

The expansion will make fishing even better by creating larger amounts of complex fish habitat. This will increase the number and types of fish found on the reef while allowing a greater number of boats to fish the reef.

Demersal species such as harlequin, breaksea cod and baldchin groper are expected to be found in larger numbers on the reef, joining already abundant skippy, samson fish and pink snapper.

These structures represent a massive opportunity to make artificial reefs in WA even more effective. Augmenting larger structures with small profile modules will increase the ecological capacity of the reef allowing more fish to call it home.’ – Andrew Rowland, Recfishwest CEO

In addition to enhancing fishing opportunities, the expanded reef will also create WA’s first purpose-built artificial reef research site.

The new modules will allow scientists to discover how fish species respond to different reef modules and how the reef can create a productive marine ecosystem. This information will be used to make artificial reefs and marine infrastructure more efficient in the future.

‘We believe that the addition of smaller complex reef modules may increase the diversity and abundance of fish species on the reef. This will be the first time in WA that the productivity of a reef will be measured following an expansion.’ – James Florisson, Recfishwest Research Officer

Purpose-built reef modules are designed to create upwelling’s, bringing nutrient rich water from the sea floor to the surface creating phytoplankton and zooplankton blooms.  These booms provide the basis for productive food chains and Recfishwest believes artificial reefs create new habitat and nursery areas.

The reef location is within five kilometres of shore almost directly in line with existing boat ramps. These reefs will enable safe access for recreational fishers with small boats in Geographe Bay.

The structures will benefit the environment and local communities; complement Western Australia’s robust and adaptive fisheries’ management approach; and help ensure fish stocks remain sustainable.

 

Prior to the deployment of the Dunsborough and Bunbury artificial reefs only a dozen fish species were identified at the deployment locations. Three years later over 60 species have called these reefs home.

April 2013: Algae begins to establish on the modules.
November 2015: Developing growth on the modules.
April 2016: Good growth establishing on the module.
April 2017: Check out the variety of sessile organisms like sponges and corals flourishing on the reef.
April 2017: A close up of the corals, sponges and algae growing on the sides of the module.
Apr 2019: A variety of fish now call this well established reef home.
April 2019: A King George eye balls the camera after it emerged from the module.
April 2019: This BRUV dropped very close to the module it's extensive growth and development.

The modules are perfect cover for tough fighters likes sambos, pinkies and kingies, and other species such as skippy, mulloway, baldchin groper, flathead, whiting and squid.

Fish like this can run straight through the reef when hooked, meaning disaster for the angler. That means the bigger fish are its almost impossible to stop if hooked close to the structure and it requires fishers to take that into account when fishing around the reefs.

For that reason, it is best to avoid anchoring right on the reef (which also means less chance of losing the anchor), instead set yourself to anchor so you are sitting alongside the reef (taking into account wind direction and current).  Anchoring directly on the reef will lead to heavy tackle and fish losses, but being too far away will produce poor results, so take the time to get it right, remembering that those sambos, pinkies and kingies know exactly where to head when hooked.

Once you have anchored up, get a berley trail going with things like mulie cubes, pellets or old bait chopped up and scatter it around the boat ever so often. This will create a slow steady feed of berley that will attract the fish to your area. Once you’ve established your trail, you can drift down small pieces of bait like mulie cubes, unweighted on just a single hook. This helps to present the bait in a natural way and the fish will believe its just another free piece of berley for them to snatch up. You can always use a weight to get the bait down the bottom, this can help when targeting fish like whiting or baldchin which are not likely to swim up the trail. Though unweighted baits will eventually make it down to them if you’re patient.

Alternatively, trolling around the reefs is a good way to find the pelagic fish which are in the area, while drifting close to it should allow you to draw bottom fish like dhuies and pinkies to your bait or lure and allow you to cover more ground.

Always be responsible and courteous of other fishers in the area, including spear fishers. There’s plenty of opportunities for all to fish the reefs and enjoy our underwater oases.

Bunbury artificial reef location
ClusterDegrees Minutes SecondsDecimal DegreesDegrees Decimal Minutes
North West33° 18'27.18' S,
115° 35'51.54' E
-33.30755, 115.5976533° 18.453' S,
115° 35.859' E
West33° 18'29.94' S,
115° 35'51.18' E
-33.308317, 115.5975533° 18.499' S,
115° 35.853' E
Centre33° 18'28.68' S,
115° 35'53.76' E
-33.307967, 115.59826733° 18.478' S,
115° 35.896' E
South-west33° 18'32.64' S,
115° 35'51.36' E
-33.309067, 115.597633° 18.544' S,
115° 35.856' E
North-east33° 18'28.26' S,
115° 35'56.4' E
-33.30785, 115.59933° 18.471' S,
121° 35.940' E
South-east33° 18'31.68' S,
115° 35'53.7' E
-33.3088, 115.5982533° 18.528' S,
121° 35.895' E

Dunsborough Artificial Reef

In January of 2013 the first purpose-built artificial reef in Western Australia was unveiled by the Minister for Fisheries. The $2.38 million investment saw the establishment the State’s first artificial reef trial on the South West coast off Bunbury and Dunsborough, with an aim to increase habitat for key fish species. Royalties for Regions program funding and $520,000 from recreational licencing revenue enabled the artificial reef initiative to come to fruition.

These purpose-built reef modules are designed to create upwelling’s bringing nutrient rich water from the sea floor to the surface creating phytoplankton and zooplankton blooms.  These blooms provide the basis for productive food chains and create new habitats and nursery areas.

The reef location is within five kilometres of shore almost directly in line with existing boat ramps. These reefs will enable safe access for recreational fishers with small boats in Geographe Bay.

The structures benefit the environment and local communities; complement Western Australia’s robust and adaptive fisheries’ management approach; and help ensure fish stocks remain sustainable.

Prior to the deployment of the Dunsborough and Bunbury artificial reefs only a dozen fish species were identified at the deployment locations. Three years later over 60 species have called these reefs home.

November 2015: Algae growth establishing on reef.
February 2016: Algae growth expanded.
July 2016: Big pink snapper checking out the baited camera
July 2016: Big pink snapper and mulloway frequent the artificial reef when the water is stirred up.
April 2017: Extensive algae growth and sponges have begun to settle and establish on the reef.
April 2018: So much life on the reef!

The modules are perfect cover for tough fighters likes sambos, pinkies and kingies, and other species such as skippy, mulloway, baldchin groper, flathead, whiting and squid.

Fish like this can run straight through the reef when hooked, meaning disaster for the angler. That means the bigger fish are its almost impossible to stop if hooked close to the structure and it requires fishers to take that into account when fishing around the reefs.

For that reason, it is best to avoid anchoring right on the reef (which also means less chance of losing the anchor), instead set yourself to anchor so you are sitting alongside the reef (taking into account wind direction and current).  Anchoring directly on the reef will lead to heavy tackle and fish losses, but being too far away will produce poor results, so take the time to get it right, remembering that those sambos, pinkies and kingies know exactly where to head when hooked.

Once you have anchored up, get a berley trail going with things like mulie cubes, pellets or old bait chopped up and scatter it around the boat ever so often. This will create a slow steady feed of berley that will attract the fish to your area. Once you’ve established your trail, you can drift down small pieces of bait like mulie cubes, unweighted on just a single hook. This helps to present the bait in a natural way and the fish will believe its just another free piece of berley for them to snatch up. You can always use a weight to get the bait down the bottom, this can help when targeting fish like whiting or baldchin which are not likely to swim up the trail. Though unweighted baits will eventually make it down to them if you’re patient.

Alternatively, trolling around the reefs is a good way to find the pelagic fish which are in the area, while drifting close to it should allow you to draw bottom fish like dhuies and pinkies to your bait or lure and allow you to cover more ground.

Always be responsible and courteous of other fishers in the area, including spear fishers. There’s plenty of opportunities for all to fish the reefs and enjoy our underwater oases.

Dunsborough artificial reef location
ClusterDegrees Minutes SecondsDecimal DegreesDegrees Decimal Minutes
North West - 133°33'55.018" S,
115°09'55.681" E
-33.565283,
115.165467
33° 33.917' S,
115° 09.928' E
Mid North - 233°33'56.458" S,
115°09'58.978" E
-33.565683,
115.166383
33° 33.941' S,
115° 09.983' E
North East - 333°33'55.98" S,
115°09'01.56" E
-33.56555,
115.1671
33° 33.933' S,
115° 10.026' E
West - 433°33'57.661" S,
115°9'56.581" E
-33.566017,
115.165717
33° 33.961' S,
115° 09.943' E
South West - 533°33'59.878" S,
115°9'55.861" E
-33.566633,
115.165517
33° 33.998' S,
115° 09.931' E
South East - 633°33'59.94" S,
115°10'1.02" E
-33.56665,
115.16695
33° 33.999' S,
115° 10.017' E

Exmouth Artificial Reef

Deployed in August 2018, this is the 5th artificial reef in Western Australia and the largest artificial reef in Australia.

A mixture of six steel giant structures integrated with 49 concrete modules form the reef’s configuration. They range in height from one metre to 10 metres and are situated across two acres (11 Olympic size swimming pools) on an area of baron ocean floor withing the Exmouth Gulf.

With over 27,000m3 of new habitat being introduced, the reef will quickly become home to a range of different fish species as well as food sources and a colonising organisms such algae, coral and sponges enhancing ocean biodiversity and fishing experiences for generations to come.

After many years working on bringing this vision to life, Recfishwest and the local community are thrilled to see new accessible and safe fishing opportunities for locals and tourists in the Exmouth area.

This project is a partnership between Recfishwest, BHP, National Energy Resources Australia (NERA), Subcon and the WA State Government. The Exmouth community, BHP, Curtin University and Sony are also partners in the Exmouth Reef Vision program which will monitor the reefs’ development and growth.

May 2018: A module being prepared for deployment, check out the size of it!
August 2018: Module being towed out to the reef site.
October 2018: First footage showed big schools of golden trevally inhabiting the area.
October 2018: A close up of a module and the fish that inhabit the area.
March 2019: Big cod's have called the shaded area under the module their home.
March 2019: check out the juvenile red emperor!
March 2019: A big spangled emperor joins the juvenile red emperor in checking out the baited camera.
March 2019: A blue-lined emperor passes by the camera and a large golden can be seen in the background.

Positioned on a previously sandy barren seafloor at a depth of 17 metres, these revolutionary structures will quickly flourish into a productive marine ecosystem. The growth on the modules and fish biodiversity and mass on the Exmouth artificial reef are unparalleled by any of the other reefs.

Trolling for species such as Spanish mackerel, school mackerel and tuna with bibbed minnows, stickbaits and skirts in close proximity to the artificial reef area can be quite productive. The reefs create upwellings and hold baitfish that these pelagic species hunt. The artificial reef area is also close to sailfish grounds so you may potentially encounter a Sailfish in the area as well if you’re lucky!

Try drifting through the reef area or jig using bait for a range of pelagic species such as trevally, tuna and mackerel along with demersal fish such as spangled emperor, rankin cod, coral trout and bluebone. Light unweighted baits drifted down in the area are a great way to naturally present a bait to the fish. Fresh squid heads from the nearby areas are the ideal baits when fishing the Exmouth reef.

Avoid anchoring right on top of reefs as it will limit the benefit they can have to all fishers and the chances of your anchor returning.

Exmouth artificial reef location
CLUSTERSDecimal Degrees (DD)Degrees Decimal Minutes (DDM)Degrees Minutes Seconds (DMS)
Steel Reef Unit 1-21.915533
114.187083
21° 54.932" South,
114° 11.225" East
21° 54’ 55.92” South
114° 11’ 13.5” East
Steel Reef Unit 2-21.915633,
114.186367
21° 54.938" South,
114° 11.182" East
21° 54' 56.28" South,
114° 11' 10.92" East
Steel Reef Unit 3-21.915533,
114.188183
21° 54.932" South,
114° 11.291" East
21° 54' 55.92" South,
114° 11' 17.46" East
Steel Reef Unit 4-21.915317,
114.186683
21° 54.919" South,
114° 11.201" East
21° 54' 55.14" South,
114° 11' 12.06" East
Steel Reef unit 5-21.91585,
114.1876
21° 54.951" South,
114° 11.256" East
21° 54' 57.06" South,
114° 11' 15.36" East
Steel Reef Unit 6-21.9151,
114.1876
21° 54.906" South,
114° 11.256" East
21° 54' 54.36" South,
114° 11' 15.36" East

Mandurah Artificial Reef

The Mandurah artificial reef was deployed off the coast in April 2016.

The purpose-built reef consists of 30 cubic reinforced concrete modules, arranged in clusters of five modules. Each module is 3m x 3m x 3m, weighs 10 tonnes, has a surface area of 30m2 and has an internal volume of 27m3.

The module design is the same as those used in the Bunbury and Dunsborough artificial reefs, being a hollow cube with curved cross braces. The design is aimed to promote upwelling (bringing nutrient rich water from the sea floor to the surface creating phytoplankton and zooplankton blooms, providing the basis for productive food chains) as well as create varied complex spaces and habitats which act as shelter for fish.

The deployment of the reefs was the last stage of a long community driven process to get the reefs in the water. Both Port Bouvard Recreation and Sporting Club as well as the Mandurah Offshore Fishing and Sailing Club (MOFSC) consulted with Recfishwest on reef locations with volunteers from MOFSC even dropping cameras to the seafloor to find the ideal site characteristics for the reef.

To read more about the Mandurah reef, click here.

With the same modules in a similar depth to the successful South West artificial reefs, the Mandurah Artificial Reef is already developing into a complex marine habitat supporting a diverse fish community providing fishing opportunities for iconic species such as pink snapper, skippy, dhufish, baldchin groper and samson fish.

April 2016: One of the "fish box" modules being prepared for deployment.
April 2016: Deployment of the "fish boxes".
April 2017: Algae has begun to establish and the reef producing plenty food sources for bait fish.
April 2017: Juvenile pink snapper on the reef.
April 2017: Dhufish spotted cruising around the modules, good growth coverage on the reef.
April 2019: Sponges and corals have begun to settle and establish on the modules.
Jan 2019: Plenty more pink snapper are frequenting the reef.

With the same modules in a similar depth to the successful South West artificial reefs (25 metres), the Mandurah Artificial Reef is already developing into a complex marine habitat supporting a diverse fish community providing fishing opportunities for iconic species such as pink snapper, skippy, dhufish, baldchin groper, samson fish, whiting, squid and flathead.

Fish like this can run straight through the reef when hooked, meaning disaster for the angler. That means the bigger fish are its almost impossible to stop if hooked close to the structure and it requires fishers to take that into account when fishing around the reefs.

For that reason, it is best to avoid anchoring right on the reef (which also means less chance of losing the anchor), instead set yourself to anchor so you are sitting alongside the reef (taking into account wind direction and current).  Anchoring directly on the reef will lead to heavy tackle and fish losses, but being too far away will produce poor results, so take the time to get it right, remembering that those sambos, pinkies and kingies know exactly where to head when hooked.

Once you have anchored up, get a berley trail going with things like mulie cubes, pellets or old bait chopped up and scatter it around the boat ever so often. This will create a slow steady feed of berley that will attract the fish to your area. Once you’ve established your trail, you can drift down small pieces of bait like mulie cubes, unweighted on just a single hook. This helps to present the bait in a natural way and the fish will believe its just another free piece of berley for them to snatch up. You can always use a weight to get the bait down the bottom, this can help when targeting fish like whiting or baldchin which are not likely to swim up the trail. Though unweighted baits will eventually make it down to them if you’re patient.

Alternatively, trolling around the reefs is a good way to find the pelagic fish which are in the area, while drifting close to it should allow you to draw bottom fish like dhuies and pinkies to your bait or lure and allow you to cover more ground.

Always be responsible and courteous of other fishers in the area, including spear fishers. There’s plenty of opportunities for all to fish the reefs and enjoy our underwater oases.

Avoid anchoring right on top of reefs as it will limit the benefit they can have to all fishers and the chances of your anchor returning.

Always be responsible and courteous of other fishers in the area, including spear fishers, there’s plenty of opportunities to fish the reefs.

Mandurah artificial reef location
Reef Unit NumberDegrees Minutes SecondsDecimal DegreesDegrees Decimal Minutes
Cluster 1 - North West32° 31' 31.92" South,
115° 34' 55.86" East
-32.525533,
115.582183
32° 31.532' South,
115° 34.931' East
Cluster 2 - Mid North32° 31' 31.92" South,
115° 34' 58.74" East
-32.525533,
115.582983
32° 31.532' South,
115° 34.979' East
Cluster 3 - North East32° 31' 32.04" South,
115° 35' 1.68" East
-32.525567,
115.5838
32° 31.534' South,
115° 35.028' East
Cluster 4 - South West32° 31' 35.1" South,
115° 34' 55.86" East
-32.526417,
115.582183
32° 31.585' South,
115° 34.931' East
Cluster 5 - Mid South32° 31' 35.22" South,
115° 34'58.74" East
-32.52645,
115.582983
32° 31.587' South,
115° 34.979' East
Cluster 6 - South East32° 31' 35.28" South,
115° 35' 1.56" East
-32.526467,
115.583767
32° 31.588' South,
115° 35.026' East

Perth Fish Towers

The towers are the first steel artificial reefs deployed in WA, with a different layout and construction material, on a much larger scale than the artificial reefs further south.

Deployed in January 2017, the fish towers have been specially designed for both pelagic and demersal fish species. The lattice-like steel upper part of the reef will concentrate small baitfish such as Yellowtail Scad, Bullseye, Pike and small Trevally, making the reef a perfect location for predatory pelagics such as Samson Fish, Yellowtail Kingfish, Salmon, Spanish Mackerel and Tuna species.

As well as this, the large area, vertical profile and differing types and shapes of the bottom part of the structure make it an ideal home for demersal species such as Pink Snapper, Dhufish and Baldchin Groper.

Other species that could be caught in the area around the reef include, King George Whiting, Flathead, Flounder and even Mulloway! While all the mentioned species are expected on the reefs (and have been observed on the artificial reefs further south) other fish may also turn up in the proposed deployment area including Yellowfin Tuna, Amberjack and Bonito.

The reasons that the towers make such a perfect homes for these fish species comes from their purpose built design.

Designed by Western Australian artificial reef specialists, Subcon, the purpose built reefs are an impressive 12.5m high or the same size as a four storey building! To add to its height, each reef weighs a massive 50 tonne and is 10m long and 7.8m wide.

Jan 2017: Deployment of the towers.
Oct 2018: Smaller fish inhabiting the upper area of the structure.
Oct 2018: Samson fish checking out the ROV on it's way down to the towers.
Oct 2018: Great growth on the upper section of the tower.
Oct 2018: Samson fish, dhufish and queen snapper all respected and sought after fish for recreational fishers.
Oct 2018: A close up of the growth that's established itself on most surfaces of the towers.

The reef towers will be located in “the paddock” between Garden Island and Rottnest Island.  They are designed to hold bait fish and attract fish such as skippy, samson fish, yellowtail kingfish, Spanish mackerel and tuna species along with pink snapper and baldchin groper.

Similar to the South West artificial reefs, some of the best fish are caught around the structure, not right on top of it. Sounding around the towers you will often mark fish within a 100m radius of the structures. Samson fish will often stack up on top of one another and distinctly appear like this on the sounder.

Fish can be targeted by trolling around the area and over the top of the reef as well as drifting near the reef location and jigging or drifting weighed baits in a berley trail. To set up a drift you usually have whats called a trial drift where you see which way the boat is going to move. You then use this information to set yourself up in a way that will allow your boat to slowly drift over the fish tower. Usually those fishing an artificial reef will set themselves up in this way creating a sort of line where each boat can drift over the reef. If the drift is slow unweighted mulies are a great method to target most species around these reefs. Not many fish will pass up a whole mulie with minimal weight drifting around these structures.

Anchoring right on top of reefs should be avoided as it will limit the benefit they can have to all fishers and the chances of your anchor returning as it may get caught up on the large structures.

Perth artificial reef location
ClustersDegrees Minutes SecondsDecimal DegreesDegrees Decimal Minutes
Tower One32° 07' 31.62" South,
115° 27' 0.78" East
-32.12545,
115.450217
32° 07' 527" South,
115° 27' 013" East
Tower Two32ᵒ 07' 27.66" South,
115ᵒ 26' 58.68" East
-32.12435,
115.449633
32ᵒ 07' 461" South,
115ᵒ 26' 978" East

Esperance Artificial Reef

The community of Esperance’s long held dream of an artificial reef close to town has now been realised!

The Esperance Reef, build with local community support, was named Cooper Reef after local community champion Graham Cooper.

Specially designed modules, produced of locally sourced concrete, has been used to create a fish habitat more than twice the size of the Ports Football Oval.

The reef will provide a home for species such as Queen Snapper, Breaksea Cod, Skippy, Harlequin and Pink Snapper.

The reef was built and installed by artificial reef experts, Subcon, but could not have been done without the support of the community and the volunteers who have worked tirelessly to make this happen.

Find out more about this exciting project here.

 

Construction underway: Sep 2018
Reef modules: Sep 2018
Deployment: Jan 2019
Deployment: Jan 2019
March 2019 - Check out the turfing algae establishing itself on the surface of the module.
March 2019 - A closer look at the turfing algae; this algae is a great sign and a important foundation for sessile organisms future settlement..
September 2019 - Great growth on the apollos modules, just nine months from the reefs deployment
September 2019 - Skippy chasing a feed provided by the upwellings created by the reef
September 2019 - Juvenile bight redfish (red snapper, nannygai) and the sensational growth of sponges and corals
September 2019 - A large samsonfish coming in for a closer look at the BRUV

The best method for targeting fish on Esperance’s Cooper reef are by drifting baits and jigs or trolling around the area of the reef. The reef often holds baitfish that are herded upwards by schools of predators like tuna, bonito or salmon. Trolling divers and skirts is the best way to target these pelagic predators. Often deep divers will fish best but having a mix in the trolling spread is usually beneficial.

Drifting with weighted baits in a berley trail will increase your chances for species such as pink snapper, queen snapper, nannygai, breaksea cod, harlequin, samson fish, skippy, flathead and King George whiting. Try stopping your boat upwind of the reef, this will help you to drift slowly over the reef area allowing you to cover more of the reef area and increase your chances of locating a fish.

Using mulies will help you to burley up and excited the fish with the oily bait while something like a fresh squid tentacle will be best for fish that are likely to pick at the baits with small mouths like whiting. Using a small cube of mulie is great for a varitey of species and throwing out some extra ones every now and then will help to burley up the fish in the area. Even if you don’t hook up, the mulies oil will help to excite and fire up the fish in the area so that you may catch them on your next drift or the one after.

Avoid anchoring right on top of reefs as it will limit the benefit they can have to all fishers and the chances of your anchor returning.

The reef will be deployed approximately 5km (2.7 nautical miles) south of Bandy Creek Boat Ramp.
Esperance artificial reef location
CLUSTERSDecimal Degrees (DD)Degrees Decimal Minutes (DDM)Degrees Minutes Seconds (DMS)
NW-33.870675
121.979494
33° 52.2405' S
121° 58.7697' E
33° 52'14.43" S
121° 58'46.18" E
SW-33.871425,
121.979447
33° 52.2855' S
121° 58.7668' E
33°52'17.13" S
121°58'46.01" E
CENTRE
POINT
-33.871064
121.980567
33° 52.2638' S
121° 58.834' E
33°52'15.83" S
121°58'50.04" E
NE-33.8707
121.981644
33° 52.242' S
121° 58.8987' E
33°52'14.52" S
121°58'53.92" E
SE-33.871436
121.981628
33° 52.2862' S
121° 58.8977' E
33°52'17.17" S
121°58'53.86" E

Artificial Reefs Gallery

Artificial Reefs becoming a productive ecosystem

King Reef with additional fish habitat enhancements being added

Bunbury Reef Deployment

Loading the Barge with Dunsborough's Artificial Reef

Local Graham Cooper playing a helping hand in constructing the new artificial reef in Esperance

Partnerships are an important part of the Artificial Reef process

CEO Recfishwest alongside one of the modules used to construct King Reef in Exmouth

Steve Riley - local Exmouth Tacklestore owner drove the King Reef Project to its fruition