Cherished South-West fishing platform reopened thanks to Shire of Dardanup’s heroics

A big Recfishwest shout out to the Shire of Dardanup for restoring a much-loved and popular jetty for the South-West community and recognising how important it is for the well-being of fishers. 

Back in May of 2023, the crumbling southern fishing platform at the old Collie River Bridge in Australind was closed to the public due to safety concerns. 

The closure prevented local fishers from enjoying the fantastic land-based fishing opportunities on the platform which had made it a popular spot since being built in 2010.  

Despite confusion around what council, shire or authority was responsible for managing and maintaining the southern jetty, the Shire of Dardanup voted to save, refurbish and take ownership of the southern jetty knowing how important the fishing platform was to locals.  

As a result, the fishing platform has now been reopened so local fishers can once again safely gather a delicious feed, thanks to the Shire of Dardanup’s decision to go it alone with no assistance being offered.

The southern fishing platform at the Old Coast Road Bridge has been reopened to fishers, with many youngsters already returning to the cherished platform to throw off crab nets.

Dardanup Shire President Cr Tyrrell Gardiner said, “The Old Coast Road Bridge fishing platform is a beloved community asset, and we’re thrilled to welcome residents, visitors and fishers back for another fantastic summer season. 

“It’s a great jetty for families to enjoy a spot of fishing and crabbing and we hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience each time they visit.”

Shire of Dardanup President Cr Tyrrell Gardiner at the reopening of the southern-based fishing platform, a great land-based fishing and crabbing spot.

Given the platform is one of the most easily accessible spots along the whole waterfront of the Collie River and is a hotspot for easily catching crabs, tailor and whiting, it is the first land-based fishing spot that the experienced team at Whitey’s Tackle in Australind recommend to their customers.   

“This fishing platform has provided great memories and wellbeing benefits to the South-West community for many years, so hats off to the Shire of Dardanup for recognising the importance of this much-loved fishing landmark and cutting through the red tape,” said Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland. 

“If this jetty could be saved thanks to the initiative of the Dardanup Shire Council, then we hope the jurisdictions and agencies responsible for the fishing platform on the northern riverbank can follow their lead by investing in its restoration and maintenance.” 

All eyes now on the northern platform

While the southern-based jetty has been reopened to the joy of fishers, the northern-based platform under the coordination of the Shire of Harvey is still off limits with no plans to restore it to its former fishing glory.

Only 30 metres across the river is the northern-based platform, located within the Shire of Harvey boundary. 

The fishing jetty is currently closed as the structure is currently unsafe to access, with the Shire of Harvey confirming to Recfishwest that there are no immediate plans to restore the platform to its former fishing glory.  

“At this stage, no funding has been allocated nor are there plans to open this up in the short term,” said the Shire of Harvey spokesperson.  

Recfishwest will continue to push for the appropriate authorities to invest in its restoration and follow the Shire of Dardanup’s lead.  

“Scores of fishing families have fished off the northern-based jetty and every estuary around WA should have a jetty for local and visiting fishers to enjoy. A jetty’s vast benefits to the community strongly outweigh the financial hurdles,” added Andrew.  

Locked out of great fishing access – the current sight meeting fishers at the northern-based fishing platform next to the Old Coast Road Bridge. Image Credit: Shire of Harvey.

Restoring jetty fishing in Carnarvon – 150 metres down, 1,300 metres to go

While it is finally receiving a small part of the restoration it thoroughly deserves – Carnarvon’s One Mile Jetty repairs will sadly fall well short of reaching the water, dashing the hopes of local fishers to soon wet a line again off the historic structure.

The State Government recently announced they would restore the first 150 metres of the jetty to celebrate its contribution to the heritage of the Gascoyne region.

“While it is great to see the Government position the jetty as the centerpiece of Carnarvon’s heritage precinct and invest in a portion of its restoration, it is bittersweet news for Carnarvon locals,” said Recfishwest Operations Manager Leyland Campbell. “They have spent years waiting for another land-based structure to restore the great fishing opportunities the jetty used to provide.

“The definition of a jetty requires it to extend over water, so the current restoration of 150 metres essentially just makes it a boardwalk. It would be fantastic to see the jetty restoration extended further so it reaches the waterline and once again offer safe and accessible fishing opportunities to the Gascoyne community.”

Jetties are highly valued community assets; they offer everyone the opportunity to access deeper water and a wider variety of species than are available from shore.

A former land-based fishing gem

Ask any experienced local fisher in Carnarvon to share any great fishing memories from Carnarvon’s One Mile jetty and their tales would stretch longer than the 1,450-metre jetty once did.

The jetty was the beating heart of recreational fishing in Carnarvon, with Recfishwest running successful local fishing clinics on the structure for years that saw excited youngsters land species such as queenfish, trevally, fingermark, flathead and mulloway to name a few.

Extending out to sea from Babbage Island on the southern side of the Gascoyne River mouth, the lengthy jetty was a hotspot for fishers of all ages and abilities to catch a wide array of species for more than 120 years.

Although the much-loved fishing platform was closed in 2017, many fishers continued to access the jetty. In the lead up to the 2021 election, the State Government pledged $4.5 million to progress the redevelopment of the shore-based section of the jetty.

However, shortly after the election, Cyclone Seroja ripped through and devastated large sections of the remaining jetty along with hopes the original jetty would ever be restored.

These images taken by TJ Bice back in April 2021 shortly after Cyclone Seroja show the damage inflicted along Carnarvon’s One Mile Jetty, with the waterside section cherished by land-based fishers copping the worst of it.

Early last year the Department of Transport completed a $4.2 million deconstruction of the intertidal and waterside sections of the damaged jetty as it was creating a navigation hazard.

It is possible though, to pay homage to the history of a landmark while simultaneously improving fishing opportunities as has been proven on WA’s south coast.

“The Government need to look no further than Esperance to see how important and beneficial it can be to restore the values a jetty provides,” said Leyland.

How Esperance jetty got it right

Just like Carnarvon, Esperance faced the dilemma of choosing to either restore their much-loved Tanker jetty or build a new jetty.

In the end, both goals were accomplished with a portion of the original timber jetty restored and connected to a new $7.5 million, 415-metre-long concrete structure that is safe, spacious and provides excellent fishing opportunities.

Since the new Esperance jetty was opened in March of 2021, it has once again become the heart of the town as the prime land-based fishing location for locals and thousands of tourists, many of whom visit Esperance because it once again has a jetty.

The new Esperance jetty paid homage to the original timber Tanker jetty by connecting it to the new $7.5 million, 415-metre-long concrete jetty that has since restored the foundations of land-based fishing in the town.

“Esperance shows honouring the old while embracing the new is possible, the same can be done in Carnarvon.” said Leyland. “We’re continuing to call on the Government to restore the fishing opportunities that Carnarvon’s One Mile jetty provided. The fishing memories and health benefits that the One Mile jetty gave me and countless others for generations are too great to be overlooked,” said Leyland.

“To fully unlock the potential of the heritage precinct, a new jetty extending from the restored section of the old jetty must be a priority for Government. They are certainly taking steps in the right direction by restoring the first 150 metres, but they still have another 1,300 metres to go before they restore the true value the jetty provides.”

Recfishwest Operations Manager Leyland Campbell has lifelong childhood memories fishing from Carnarvon’s One Mile Jetty, pictured here on a family fishing trip in the 1980s.

 

A tale of two jetties

All too often, we see prized fishing jetties desperately needing TLC and restoration abandoned, left to rot or demolished as the red tape around who is responsible in managing and maintaining them puts them in the ‘too-hard’ basket for many local authorities.  

Huge credit then must be given to Dardanup Shire Council, who has stepped up to save a historic, popular fishing jetty on the south side of the Collie River.  

The Collie River southern fishing platform was attached to the old Collie River Bridge, which was built in 1962 and managed by the Shire of Harvey in co-operation with Main Roads WA. 

A new concrete and steel bridge was opened in April 2010, followed by construction of a new pedestrian boardwalk in 2011 linking the original jetty and fishing platform to the riverbank. 

The eastern end of the boardwalk connected the facility to the Shire of Dardanup, while the western end connected the facility to the City of Bunbury. 

Generations of fishing-mad mums, dads and kids have fished the north and south jetties, however, in recent times both have fallen into disrepair and have been closed off to the public. 

As a result, The Dardanup Shire council – located inland from Bunbury and Australind – recently voted to save, refurbish and take ownership of the southern jetty and go it alone to restore it to its former glory as a crabbing and fishing hotspot, after negotiations with Main Roads and neighboring councils, including the City of Bunbury and Shire of Harvey – were unsuccessful. 

Meanwhile, it is understood that plans are being considered to demolish the northern jetty (which is out of the Shire of Dardanup’s jurisdiction and control), which would send a wrecking ball through the hopes of local fishers to one day once again fish the currently closed dilapidated platform.  

Jurisdiction of jetty management and maintenance can be as clear as mud, so Recfishwest applauds the Shire of Dardanup for stepping up to the plate and taking ownership of the Old Collie River Bridge southern jetty.

Dardanup Shire President Mick Bennett said the jetty was a well-used community facility and ensuring safe access to waterways for recreational activities was part of the Council’s strategic plan. 

“The Collie River and its foreshore area in Eaton has special significance to residents of our shire as well as those in neighbouring areas,” Cr Bennett said. 

“The river also has cultural, spiritual and historic significance to local Aboriginal people – particularly the Wardandi, Pindjarup and Wilman people who used this land for hunting, fishing, camping and ceremony, and to visit and pay respect to their sacred sites. 

“For these reasons, Council felt compelled to ensure the jetty’s future and the ongoing enjoyment of its availability for all.” 

News of the southern jetty’s reprieve was welcomed by local fishers.  

Mitchell Cooper from Whitey’s Tackle in Australind said, “This is one of the most accessible spots along the whole waterfront of the Collie River and it’s a vital fishing platform for the area. It’s really the best spot for crabbing if you don’t have a boat and it’s great for young kids who want to go for tailor and crabs. To be honest, there is not much else here as far as decent jetties go.”  

Recfishwest applauds the Shire of Dardanup for standing up for local fishers and doing what needs to be done to save a much-loved community fishing landmark. 

“The pleasure and value these structures give as fishing platforms is simply priceless and every seaside town next to an estuary should have a jetty for local and visiting fishers,” said Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland. “Both these jetties clearly play a really important role in the social fabric of the local communities, providing families and friends with opportunities to get together and kids a healthy outdoor outlet all through fishing.  

“So we’re really pleased the Shire of Dardanup values fishing and what it gives to the community by cutting through the red tape and taking the initiative.  

“We hope that the jurisdictions and agencies responsible for the fishing platform on the northern riverbank show similar leadership and invest in its restoration and maintenance for future generations before it is lost forever.” 

Recfishwest will keep you updated across our social platforms on information related to the Collie Bridge jetties – stay tuned.  

For more information on the Shire of Dardanup website, click here.  

Hats off to the Shire of Dardanup for pushing to restore the southern jetty adjacent to the Old Collie Bridge (pictured above) back to its former glory as a fantastic land-based fishing spot for people of all abilities.

Town of Cambridge’s ridiculous proposal to ban all forms of land-based fishing

The push from the Town of Cambridge to ban all forms of land-based fishing along a popular fishing coastline between City Beach and Floreat has been slammed by the metro fishing community.  

Last week, the Town of Cambridge pushed to ban all forms of land-based fishing in just over two weeks’ time along a 1,200m stretch of popular fishing coastline from around 50m south of the City Beach groyne up to the Floreat Surf Lifesaving Club to the north.  

This stretch of coastline has provided some of Perth’s best land-based fishing experiences for generations and includes Floreat beach, which has been a much-loved fishing spot known for producing great catches of whiting, herring, tarwhine, tailor and mulloway.  

It follows what the Town of Cambridge says is a number of shark fishing instances in the area over the summer, despite only one complaint on this along the same stretch between January 2022 and January 2023.  

“It’s utterly ridiculous and ludicrous by the local Government and they don’t have the understanding, the ability or the knowledge of fishing to be able to create good public policy around fishing. To ban all fishing because the council have an issue with sharks is akin to stopping all cars on the road because there is an issue with speeding. It’s just bizarre that they would go down this pathway,” said Recfishwest Operations Manager Leyland Campbell on ABC Mornings last week with Nadia Mitsopoulos. 

Floreat beach is included in part of the 1,200m stretch of coastline where the Town of Cambridge wants to ban all forms of fishing. This metro fishing spot has provided great catches of whiting, herring, tailor and mulloway for generations and Recfishwest will fight to ensure it stays that way.

Listen to Leyland’s interview discussing this on the ABC here 

“This council proposal would stop little kids from having a dab net walking around the groyne and going for crabs or fishing for herring and whiting off the beach, it’s just madness. This is a State issue and it should be managed through State fisheries legislation. 

“This stretch is one of the most iconic beach fishing locations in the Perth metro area and this is just an overreaction that completely ignores all the wellbeing, health and economic benefits that fishing provides. There has been no consulation with Recfishwest as the peak body for recreational fishing on this proposal.”  

This contentious proposal has been widely condemned by the metro fishing community, with 6PR announcer Karl Langdon labelling the proposed ban an “absolute joke” and adding the groynes in this area are “one of the most accessible fishing platforms for parents to teach their kids how to fish and for those that are less able-bodied.”  

Recfishwest recognises shore-based fishing for large “trophy” sharks (greater than three metres) at popular swimming beaches does not meet the community’s expectations of responsible behavior and is currently in discussion with the Minister for Fisheries on how best to address this specific matter.  

Recfishwest believe State-based Fisheries legislation is and should remain the overriding legislation governing fisheries in Western Australia and LGA’s should stick to managing roads, rubbish and rates and leave recreational fisheries management to the State. 

This ludicrous proposal will be open for public comment soon and we will keep you updated and informed on how you can tell the Town of Cambridge exactly what you think. We will continue to fight for the rights of recreational fishers across WA and together we can put a stop to this outrageous proposal – stay tuned. 

The 1,200m stretch of coastline provides fantastic metro catches such as this tailor landed from Floreat and Recfishwest will fight to ensure fishing accessibility is untouched in this area. Photo Credit: Jake Rotham

Land-based fishing access for Port Hedland goes to the next level – literally!

Thanks to an innovative jetty design, Port Hedland’s new land-based fishing platform will adapt perfectly to the ever-changing conditions, so land-based fishers won’t have to!

What’s more, the Pilbara Ports Authority (PPA) has safely deployed six mangrove jack, cod and coral trout-attracting reef balls, donated by Rio Tinto, under the smart-design jetty to further enhance fishing opportunities.

PPA placed fishing considerations at the fore of its ongoing construction of the Spoilbank Marina, with better flexibility to fish during Port Hedland’s large tidal swings implemented into the jetty’s design and build.

Given the difference between the low and high tide mark in Port Hedland is frequently around six metres, PPA constructed two levels on the platform that allows fishers the freedom to wet a line either during the low or high tide mark, with wheelchair accessibility included.

Drawing on our artificial reef expertise, Recfishwest assisted PPA in the configuration of the six reef balls, providing tips on how to maximise the effectiveness of the reef modules.

Six reef balls have been safely positioned under the innovative dual-level fishing platform and slightly off to either side to create an inviting habitat for fish and boost the abundance in species for land-based anglers.

The pylons of the jetty themselves will help provide shelter and structure for the settlement of marine flora, algae, crustaceans and bait fish, further encouraging multiple species that fishers love to target to congregate and move between the pylons and individual reef structures.

We have also advised PPA on deploying additional reef ball modules and other reef structures around the marina parallel to the breakwall on the inside of the marina.

By providing other areas of habitat enhancement within the marina, this will help reduce overcrowding on the fishing jetty upon its completion, while also increasing catches of sought-after species.

An artist’s impression of the Spoilbank Marina fishing platform being constructed by the Pilbara Ports Authority. The platform will give recreational fishers improved access to fishing the fluctuating low or high-tide mark in Port Hedland.

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said, “It’s great to see that the Pilbara Ports Authority have taken the interests of recreational fishers to heart in designing this marina and fishing platform – we’d like to see other Ports Authorities’ follow this example providing better access for land-based fishers.”

“Not only does the design take advantage of the fluctuating tides in this region, but the modules positioned in the marina will eventually house a wide range of species the community loves to catch.”

It’s good news for Port Hedland’s boat fishers too in the $187.5 million construction of the Spoilbank Marina project, funded by the State Government, Town of Port Hedland and BHP.

“Once complete, the marina will feature a four-lane boat ramp, 22 boat pens, fish cleaning stations and barbecue facilities,” said Pilbara Ports Authority General Manager Engineering and Infrastructure, Charles Kretzmann.

“The Spoilbank Marina will improve safe access to deep water by providing a separate entrance channel for recreational boaters and fishers to use away from large commercial bulk carriers navigating in and out of the port,” added Charles.

Recfishwest will continue to consult with PPA on the ongoing Spoilbank Marina construction, which is expected to be operational by late 2023, with landside completion expected in early 2024.

If you wish to keep up to date on the Spoilbank Marina project, check out the Spoilbank Marina Facebook Page.

Port Hedland has always been an attractive land-based fishing destination for many anglers given the wide range of species on offer and the new Spoilbank Marina development by the Pilbara Ports Authority aims to enhance fishing accessibility in this region.