Esperance Artificial Reef construction complete

A dedicated group of community volunteers have constructed 128 concrete modules in just three weeks as part of the new Artificial Reef development.

The reef modules are expected to create a fish habitat more than 11,400 square metres in size, twice the size of Ports Football Oval.

The construction of the modules was overseen by artificial reef specialists Subcon, with deployment set to take place in August and September this year.

South East Coast Recreational Fishing Council president Graham Cooper, who came up with the idea more than five years ago, said he pushed for construction to stay local.

“We knew there were locals here who could help with the labour and local cement works,” he said.

“I really pushed for it to stay local, keep it local, and it has worked; the support of those involved has been fantastic.”

Mr Cooper extended his thanks to Nigel Worth, Mike Spencer, Ben Strautins, Phil Doney, Brett Thorpe, Ron Chambers, John King, Graham Gath and the Department of Transport.

Mr Cooper also extended thanks to Recfishwest chief executive officer Andrew Rowland and research officer James Florisson, having drawn plans, developed the prototypes and supported his vision.

“Without local support and local members of my committee, the Deep Sea Angling Club and Recfishwest, we could not have done this, it just would not have been possible.”

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 2017, the project doubled after the Goldfields Esperance Development Commission matched the existing funding.

Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly said it was wonderful to see the development already bringing the community together in a positive way.

“Enthusiasm for the artificial reef has come from passionate local fishers who are looking forward to the specially-designed habitat attracting local fish species,” he said.

“Once established and providing new habitat for a range of fish species, the Esperance Artificial Reef will offer a safe and convenient area for local fishing opportunities.”

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the project had provided a real boost to the local economy and would be a major addition to the tourism product for the state’s South Coast.

The project was supported by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and Recfishwest.