Western Australia artificial reef trials look promising; number of fish species quadruple

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Western Australia’s first trial artificial reefs are showing promising results with number of fish species quadrupling in just two years.

Department of Fisheries’ researchers have noted significant marine growth on the 60 reef modules, building a welcoming habitat for fish and giving anglers new fishing spots.

Western Australia Fisheries Minister Ken Baston said 50 finfish species had been recorded around the South-West reefs, up from just a dozen fish species detected when they were deployed two years ago.

Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said State Government Royalties for Regions had invested $1.8 million to establish the South-West artificial reefs.

“I am pleased to hear the positive results these structures have brought to the region, supporting the creation of opportunities for local tourism, charter operators and tackle and boating industries which base their businesses around the quality of the fishing experience,” Mr Redman said.

Mr Baston said the positive results offered confidence for similar state-of-the-art reefs to be located elsewhere off the Western Australian coast.

“Recreational fishing licence fees will soon be at work again supporting new artificial reef projects off Mandurah and Rottnest,” he said.

As part of the South-West trial, the Government has dedicated $575,000 to monitoring the artificial reefs over five years.

Mr Baston said surveys on the South-West reefs had shown them to be successful in providing habitat for the three target species – Samsonfish, snapper and skippy.

“A wide variety of other marine life, including macroalgae and some corals, now call the reefs home,” he said.

“We look forward to the reefs developing further as the trial continues.”