Throughout our great state there are plenty of stories of community champions rolling up their sleeves to make fishing better in their local area.
One such story is that of the Esperance Deep Sea Angling Club lead by local stalwart Graham Cooper and their work on the Esperance Artificial Reef, named Cooper Reef in Graham’s honour.
Their fantastic efforts were recognised on 29th June when the club took out the ‘Best Project’ in the small clubs category of the Clubs WA Awards for Excellence. Recfishwest attended the awards event with Graham and fellow club member Nigel Worth.
Part of what made the recognition extra special was the fact that many club members literally built the reef with their own hands when they helped to pour dozens of the 128 concrete modules that now make up the reef.
Artificial reefs from Esperance to Exmouth continue to provide great fishing experiences for local communities. All of these projects were born out of dedicated local fishers who had a vision to improve fishing and the drive to make it happen.
Recfishwest are extremely proud to have been able to assist Graham and his team in delivering this exciting project for their local community.
Recfishwest’s world first marine citizen science program “Reef Vision” is a research project that uses recreational fishers to collect video footage of the fish and marine life on artificial reefs to assist in the monitoring and development of the reefs.
Earlier this month, Recfishwest and project partners celebrated the launch of Peel Reef Vision in Mandurah with an information and training workshop held at the Mandurah Offshore Fishing and Sailing Club (MOFSC). Keen local volunteers have already dropped cameras on the Mandurah Artificial Reef giving us a greater understanding on how this reef is developing and learning what fish species are using the reefs.
Tackle World Miami are kindly providing bait and advice to volunteers, enabling them to collect this footage of the reefs using their new specialised baited underwater video cameras.
Recfishwest and Murdoch University are again partnering to deliver the Peel Reef Vision program providing an excellent level of academic rigour to the program. Murdoch are also managing our 2019 Southwest Reef Vision program that monitors the Dunsborough and Bunbury artificial reefs.
Peel Reef Vision volunteers have already recorded a range of species that use the reef including pink snapper, skippy, john dory, flathead, whiting and an octopus!
This new addition to the Reef Vision program compliments the existing community monitoring programs currently underway on artificial reefs deployed in Esperance, Exmouth, Dunsborough and Bunbury.
We would like to give a special thanks to the MOFSC for hosting the Reef Vision information eveningt. The club have been an invaluable part of the deployment of the Mandurah artificial reef, and now with monitoring the reef’s development.
Peel Reef Vision is funded by the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund and supported by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and Recfishwest.
Here’s what we sent to our members earlier in the week!
Exmouth’s newest fishing playground ‘King Reef’ has been in the water for four months now and locals are already reporting some great catches from the reef. With recent footage collected by Curtin University and Exmouth Reef Vision volunteers we are also seeing some amazing footage from the sea floor.
In an Australian first, six giant steel structures combined with purpose-built concrete modules were deployed in the Exmouth Gulf only 10 minutes from the Exmouth Marina – providing safe and accessible experiences for families in small boats. With a reef the equivalent of 11 Olympic size swimming pools, WA’s latest reef is one of the fastest developing reefs in Australia and will only get better!
As a Recfishwest Member we want to share with you first, the second look of fish that are calling the reef home. 40 species have now been recorded on King Reef! Recently observed Golden Trevally, Amberjack, Pearl Perch and Saddle Tail Seaperch have joined abundant juvenile Red Emperor, big Estuary Cod, Rankin Cod, Spangled Emperor, Tuskfish and Flathead just to name a few.
Did you miss the 1st look at King Reef back in September? You can check that out, including the coordinates for the reef here.
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 ‘forests’.
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.
So next time you’re in Exmouth, make sure you pay King Reef a visit!
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Exmouth’s newest fishing playground is the fastest developing artificial reef in WA with 28 species calling it home within 28 days!
Juvenile Red Emperor, Rankin Cod, Spango’s, Tuna, Estuary Cod and Sailfish are just some of the species on offer at the reef which was deployed in early August 2018.
All these fish are available for families in small boats to access, especially when the winds are up on the Western side of the Cape and people can escape to the Gulf to enjoy some great fishing only 10 minutes from the boat ramp.
Fishing King Reef
The reef configuration was designed in a way to maximise both fish production and the area available for people to fish. There’s no point building a fishing reef, if only a few boats can fish it. Drifting baits, trolling deep diving lures or jigging next to the structures with metal jigs or soft plastics are all good methods used to catch yourself a quality fish.
More importantly, drop into the local Exmouth tackle stores to make sure your gear is up to scratch, especially if your fishing around the steel structures – as once a decent fish hits your lure or bait, you’ll need to lock your drag up, steer the fish away from the structures and muscle that fish back to your boat.
WA’s latest purpose built artificial reef, ‘King Reef’, has been installed in the Exmouth Gulf, awaiting the fishing community to pay it a visit!
The project is a collaboration between Recfishwest, BHP, NERA (National Energy Resources Australia), Subcon International and Curtin University. Through Recfishwest the project also has support from the passionate Exmouth community and the Western Australian State Government, through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund.
Take a look at the video for the whole story inside what makes this project so exciting and paves the way for future engineered ecosystems!
The development came to fruition in December 2016, after it was announced it would receive $300,000 in funding from the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund.
In March last year, the project doubled in size after the Goldfields Esperance Development Commission matched the existing funding.
The local vision, which has now developed into a 150 tonne project, was designed to rectify the substantial loss of fishing access in the region due to geographical and environmental factors.
South East Coast Recreational Fishing Council chairman Graham Cooper said it was a special feeling to know that the reef build was something that both members and their children would be able to enjoy.
“It’s great that we could keep the work and the reef materials sourced locally,” he said.
“I can’t wait to catch a queenie or a sambo on a reef that the Esperance fishing community built with their own hands.”
Recfishwest Research officer James Florisson said the reef design was configured specifically for local species and had been thoughtfully designed by engineers, marine biologists and ecologists.
Mr Florisson said the reef configuration would create a productive ecosystem for a variety of different species of fish.
“It will provide a home for species such as Queen Snapper, Breaksea Cod, Skippy, Harlequin and Pink Snapper,” he said.
“This could not have been done without the support of the community and the volunteers who have worked tirelessly to make this happen.”
The reef was built and will be installed by artificial reef experts at global marine foundation Subcon.
It is expected the reef will be deployed in September this year.
Fishing licence fees help create an Exmouth integrated artificial reef
Wednesday, 16 May 2018
– New artificial reef will enhance Exmouth fishing experience
– Funded by recreational fishing licence fees through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund, and supported by BHP and National Energy Resource Australia
Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly today announced the location for Exmouth’s new Integrated Artificial Reef (IAR).
The new $1 million artificial reef will be one of Australia’s largest artificial reefs and will be located near the Exmouth Boat Harbour inside the Exmouth Gulf, providing the community with new safe and accessible fishing opportunities.
More than 27,000 cubic metres of concrete and steel structures will be installed on the sandy bottom of the Exmouth Gulf. The project brings together world-leading engineering solutions and science-based habitat enhancement, all to benefit recreational fishing.
Local WA company and world leaders in artificial reef architecture, Subcon International, received funding to develop the reef from last year’s round of the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund (RFIF).
The Exmouth reef differs in both size and design to WA’s other artificial reefs. A mixture of steel integrated with concrete will form the reef’s 58 modules, which will range in height from one metre to 10 metres and laid out across two acres on the ocean floor. Once deployed, the 27,000 cubic metres of reef volume will be equal to that of 11 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
25 per cent of recreational licence fees collected by the Government, goes to the RFIF for investment back into the sector. A further 15 per cent of licence fees goes towards funding for Recfishwest, with the balance of licence fee money supporting fisheries management through the department.
Comments attributed to Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly:
“I am very pleased to announce the location of the Exmouth Integrated Artificial Reef, which will create a new, accessible, safe fishing location for recreational fishers.
“I look forward to seeing the artificial reef, which was partly funded by the State Government, effectively enhance the recreational fishing experience in WA.
“Thousands of people descend upon Exmouth for a fishing getaway but sometimes the winds and swell is unfavourable.
“This new reef will offer tourists and locals an alternative fishing in the safety of the gulf, which can only add to the appeal Exmouth has as an iconic WA fishing destination.
“The McGowan Government is delivering on its election commitment that ensures 25 per cent of recfishing licence fees are invested back into the sector through the RFIF.”
– $1.9 million worth of new projects to put your fishing licence fees to work for you
– Since 2012, about $10 million from licence money has funded recfishing projects
– Perth’s northern metro waters will get an artificial reef to enhance fish habitats
A new artificial reef for Perth’s northern suburbs is one of 11 new recfishing projects worth almost $2 million that will be funded from recreational fishing licence money, through the latest round of the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund (RFIF).
The McGowan Government will decide the specific location of the $1 million artificial reef through consultation with the fishing community and other stakeholders.
The announcement of a new northern metropolitan reef, comes five years after the deployment of Western Australia’s first ever artificial reef for fishing in Bunbury. Once in the water, the northern metropolitan reef will become WA’s seventh purpose-built artificial reef.
Other projects funded through the RFIF will be announced in the coming months.
The McGowan Government has delivered on its election commitment to the RFIF that ensures 25 per cent of recreational fishing licence money is invested back into recfishing. Projects funded provide safe, sustainable, accessible and enjoyable recreational fishing experiences in Western Australia.
WA’s Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund has already provided more than $10 million for projects that benefit WA fishers, while having additional tangible outcomes for fish habitats, the environment and research.
For more information, visit https://recfishwest.org.au/rfif
Comments attributed to Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly:
“In 2015, WA Labor stood side by side with Recfishwest to protect this important fund, when the former government tried to cut it.
“The McGowan Government is delivering on its election commitment that ensures 25 per cent of recfishing licence money is invested back into the sector through the RFIF.
“A further 15 per cent of licence fees goes towards funding for Recfishwest, with the balance of licence fee money supporting fisheries management through the department.
“We’ve asked WA fishers where they want their licence money spent and artificial reefs continually come out towards the top of the list.
“Artificial reefs can provide quality fishing opportunities to help fishers avoid having to travel excessive distances or venture into rough waters, and they can also mean a huge boost for localised tourism as well as a win for fish habitats.
“A new artificial reef will enhance the recfishing opportunities for the growing northern suburbs.
“The goal of the McGowan Government is to ensure Western Australians have safe, accessible, sustainable and enjoyable fishing experiences for years to come.”
Recfishwest’s world first marine citizen science program ‘Reef Vision’ is set to launch in the Peel Region in October 2017. It’s only missing one thing – you! To kick off Peel Reef Vision we need passionate and committed fishers to help showcase the development and success of the Mandurah Artificial Reef and do their part for fishing and science.
The Peel Reef Vision Program will build on the two successful and ongoing Reef Vision monitoring programs on the Dunsborough and Bunbury Artificial Reefs.
The remarkable reefs bringing new life to our coastline. The artificial reefs are attracting fish in increasing numbers and in what's believed to be a world first, scientists are calling on the community to help monitor them.
Reef Vision is a research project that uses passionate fishers to collect vital and exciting footage of the fish and marine life on artificial reefs to assist in the monitoring and development of the reefs.
“To date, Reef Vision volunteers have collected over 400 hours of valuable footage from 212 videos of the Bunbury and Dunsborough reefs. These videos have revealed over 34,000 individual fish from 82 different species including Dhufish, Samson Fish, Baldchin Groper, Pink Snapper and large schools of Mulloway.”
What the volunteers actually do?
Reef Vision volunteers throw specialised baited underwater camera systems out from their boat and record an hour of video footage over the artificial reefs while they are fishing. This footage is later analysed by university researchers and students to see what fish are using the reefs.
“This was something that I could do to give back to the community, the more the community can do to help out, the better it is for us as fishers and for the future of our fisheries” Reef Vision volunteer Garry Dyer.
Recfishwest’s Research Officer James Florisson says these passionate volunteers are contributing to real science, in an effort to make fishing better in WA. They are the key to this programs success.
“It’s important for us to know what’s happening on these reefs, and it’s even more important that the volunteers are enjoying their time collecting the footage for us; they’re the backbone of Reef Vision and we can’t thank them enough,” James said.
How Do You Get Involved?
If you would like to be involved and participate in the new Peel Reef Vision Program or to find out more about the program, please email email@example.com
Reef Vision Supporters
Recfishwest would like to thank all of our project partners who have assisted with Reef Vision to date and who have offered support for the new Peel Reef Vision program.
The project is supported by the RFIF, DPIRD, FRDC and Ecotone Consulting who assisted in the development of Reef Vision in the South West.
Mandurah Offshore Fishing and Sailing Club (MOFSC) and Port Bouvard Recreation and Sporting Club have dedicated the time and effort to not only assist with establishing Reef Vision in the Peel Region but who were also involved in the early stages, including site selection and deployment of the Mandurah Artificial Reef. MOFSC members will assist in monitoring for Peel Reef Vision.
Alcoa have thrown their support behind establishing Peel Reef Vision by providing camera equipment and technology, as well as staff who have assisted in trials for the project. Alcoa volunteer Chris Daou says he’s been fishing and monitoring the Bunbury and Dunsborough reefs since the beginning and he’s been amazed to see how they have developed.
“Having the opportunity to assist in trialing Reef Vision in the Peel Region has provided me with great insight into how science can be used to benefit the environment, fish and fishing,” Chris said.
Murdoch University and Curtin University are research partners with Reef Vision. Data collected on the reefs is analysed by university researchers and students.
Men Shed Forrestdale and First Marine have been getting involved in Artificial Reefs by lending their experience and knowledge to help make and improve equipment for Artificial Reef monitoring for the Reef Vision volunteers.
Dunsborough Outdoor Sportz and Whitey’s Tackle Australind kindly provided equipment and prizes which has enabled volunteers to collect footage of these reefs using the baited underwater cameras, both stores have been very supportive and important partners.
Most importantly, thank you to all the volunteers whose efforts and dedication to the cause are a major factor to the success of Reef Vision!
Our Purpose is to ensure Great Fishing Experiences for all in the WA community forever.
Our Commitment is to Protect, Promote and Develop Sustainable, Accessible, Enjoyable and Safe fishing for the benefit of the community.
Thanks to our current supporters, Recfishwest can continue the fight to keep fishing great in WA.
Our role is to:
– Be your voice that would not otherwise be heard
– Be the voice of the fish that otherwise goes unheard or ignored
– Keep you informed of all thing affecting your fishing, 24/7; we believe you need to know!
– Strive to ensure you and your family return home safe after a day’s fishing
– Defend your fishing rights when your local fishing spot is under threat
– Fight when access to fishing areas is put at risk
– Roll up our sleeves and find a solution when no one else will.
Contribute to what we do and support us, become a member and let us do the hard yakka on your behalf. We don’t make profits here at Recfishwest and we make sure all our resources go directly towards our action to protect, promote and develop our fishing environments and to keep you fishing.
To give you an idea of where your support helps us make fishing better:
• Stocking of important recreational fish species around WA, including Pink Snapper, Barramundi, Prawns, Mulloway and Freshwater Trout
• Development, design and deployment of Artificial Reefs in Western Australia
• Development of important fishing research and conservation programs
• Development of WA’s ‘Fish and Survive’ program, to ensure all fishers come home safe after a day’s fishing
• Delivery of WA’s only state-wide fishing clinic program to thousands of kids in both metro and regional areas
A strong membership base allows us to pursue matters that affect your fishing with added confidence knowing you’ve got our back, just like we’ve got yours!
For just 50c per week, you can help us protect and develop fishing experiences in Western Australia, for the community forever.