Final approval for Esperance Artificial Reef development

Concrete jungle: South East Coast Recreational Fishing Council president Graham Cooper stands before the 128 modules constructed as part of the new Esperance Artificial Reef development. Photo: Jesinta Burton.
Concrete jungle: South East Coast Recreational Fishing Council president Graham Cooper stands before the 128 modules constructed as part of the new Esperance Artificial Reef development. Photo: Jesinta Burton.

The Federal Government have given the Esperance Artificial Reef development the final tick of approval, with the reef now scheduled to be deployed in October.

The Department of Environment and Energy approved the final piece of the process to get the reef deployed on Wednesday, September 19.

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Recfishwest chief executive officer Dr Andrew Rowland said he was excited to have received the approval and extended thanks to those who had provided support.

“The Esperance community and Recfishwest have been working for many years to make this dream a reality and now we’re past the final step,” he said.

“We’ve had great support from both state and commonwealth governments for this project, along with the Goldfields Esperance Development Commission.

“The local fishing community rolled up their sleeves and teamed up with reef engineers, Subcon, to build their own 128 module, 150 tonne reef, and now to get this final tick of approval means a lot to the community.”

The development has been in the works for several years, receiving $300,000 in funding from the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund in December, 2016.

In March 2017, the funding was doubled by the Goldfields Esperance Development Commission and allowed the project to double in size.

South East Coast Recreational Fishing Council chairman Graham Cooper and Recfishwest Research officer James Florisson at a habitat mapping workshop in 2017.

South East Coast Recreational Fishing Council chairman Graham Cooper and Recfishwest Research officer James Florisson at a habitat mapping workshop in 2017.

Back in July, community volunteers constructed 128 concrete modules designed to create a fish habitat more than 11,400 square metres in size.

The reef is designed to provide small boats access to safe fishing experiences close to Bandy Creek Boat Harbour and Wylie Bay, with access to fish species such as Pink and Queen Snapper, Nannygai, Breaksea Cod, Samson Fish, flathead, whiting and tuna.

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