Recfishwest welcomes the support of our partners for 2021 — some new, some ongoing, but all with the common purpose — to help make fishing better. Continue reading “Recfishwest’s 2021 partners, helping make fishing better”
Fishing for Perth metro pelagics has a new breath of new life with the instalment of two steel reef towers, which will boost fishing opportunities for fishers. The towers are an addition to the numerous other artificial reef and habitat enhancement projects complete or underway in WA, funded through recreational fishing licence fees.
The reef towers differ from the concrete reef modules currently installed off Dunsborough, Bunbury and Mandurah and those planned for deployment in Esperance, Exmouth and Dampier. The towers are the first steel artificial reef structures in WA, with a different layout and construction to the demersal reefs, and on a much larger vertical scale. 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 70 ton and is 10m long and 7.8m wide. The costly process of reef deployment at sea was also reduced through a new innovative technique that has never been used with this style of artificial reef anywhere in the world. Instead of being loaded onto a barge and lowered using a crane, the large structure was towed out into position and its buoyancy tanks were flooded to safely and cost effectively sink the towers.
The reef towers were specifically designed to not only house demersal fish species but namely to attract an array of pelagic top-water fish in a similar way to FADs. The lattice-like steel upper part of the reef will provide structure and concentrate small baitfish, attracting predatory pelagics. The purpose built design will also allow demersal species to shelter amongst the large base structure with its various shapes, crevasses and vertical profile.
The steel lattice structure provides a complex habitat with variations in temperature, shade and hydrological effects such as current. The curved steel plates on the tower promote upwelling and the surfaces of the structure can be colonised by macro-algae, sponges and corals to favour a variety of different species and higher abundances of fish.
The wide range of habitats influenced by the reef towers will hold a good variety of fish species, with pelagics such as Samson Fish, Yellowtail Kingfish, Salmon, Spanish Mackerel and Tuna all expected to turn up at the reef as well as demersal species such as Pink Snapper, Dhufish and Baldchin Groper. There’s also a good chance of King George Whiting, Skippy, Flathead, Flounder and even Mulloway that are caught in the surrounding areas. All of these species have been encountered on the established South West artificial reefs but other species such as Yellowfin Tuna and Bonito are also expected to make an appearance.
The reef towers were funded using recreational fishing licence fees and are for all recreational fishers to enjoy. 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. Similar to the South West artificial reefs, some of the best fish are caught around the structure, not right on top of it. Fish can be targeted by casting or 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 burley trail.
The reef towers are located in “the paddock” between Garden Island and Rottnest Island. The final coordinates have been given as 32ᵒ 07.527′ S, 115ᵒ 27.013′ E for Tower 1 and 32ᵒ 07.461′ S, 115ᵒ 26.978′ E for Tower 2 in 44-45m water depth.
With huge projects like this, WA is showing the world what can be achieved by passionate fishers who believe in enjoyable, safe, sustainable and accessible fishing experiences for the WA community in the future. This project was made possible by the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund and supported by Recfishwest and the WA Department of Fisheries.
Recfishwest welcomes today’s announcement by new Fisheries Minister Joe Francis, that the much anticipated Mandurah artificial reef is to be deployed in the coming days. The Australian made Mandurah reef will be a carbon copy of the Bunbury and Dunsborough reefs which are already proving to be a hit with fishers. The 3m x 3m purpose built cubic concrete reef modules are on their way to their reef site, currently an underwater sandy desert only 9km from WA’s second largest city.
Recfishwest Chief Executive Officer Dr Andrew Rowland said the preferred location was carefully selected in consultation with the Mandurah Offshore Fishing and Sailing Club, the Port Bouvard Fishing Club as well as various community stakeholders.
“The local fishing community has real ownership of this development and has provided expert advice so that this new reef maximises fishing opportunities for everyone in the region.” Dr Rowland said.
“The Mandurah reef will be 9km from shore in an area easily accessible for families with small boats leaving from either the Mandurah Estuary mouth or the Dawesville Cut,” Dr Rowland said.
“Once deployed, the reef will develop into a complex marine habitat in a short time supporting a diverse fish community, which will provide new fishing opportunities for many iconic fish species including Pink Snapper, Skippy and Samson fish.”
“This project has been a long time in the making and Recfishwest and the community are thankful for the strong support from local MP and keen fisher Dr Kim Hames.”
“Recfishwest and the wider fishing public are extremely pleased that recreational fishing licence money is being reinvested into projects that enhance the recreational fishing experience,”
“These types of projects are highly valued by the community.” Dr Rowland said.