Artificial reefs for the west?

Western Australia’s Department of Fisheries has been investigating whether artificial reefs are suitable for deployment in the state’s marine environment.

CEO Stuart Smith said artificial reefs have been deployed in other Australian states and other countries, to improve the recreational fishing experience and a recent visit to Korea and China had proved invaluable for a WA fishing delegation.

“The delegation included marine science experts, recreational fishing representatives and fisheries managers, who looked at the latest developments in reef technology, design and function, to examine potential impacts for eco-systems and fish production,” Smith said.

“North Asian countries, such as Korea, China and Japan have been at the forefront of research into artificial reef research, construction and deployment over the past four decades. Artificial reefs offer another potential tool for Western Australia, to help manage pressure on various fisheries and especially those in high population areas around the State.”

Smith said there was a strong appetite amongst recreational fishers, to trial artificial reefs and gain expertise in their deployment.

“The latest artificial reefs are purpose built for specific outcomes, such as improved biodiversity and the increased production of particular species,” he said.

“These artificial reefs are different to other structures (like scuttled vessels) that provide some benefits, but can act more as devices to aggregate fish, without significantly enhancing the stock carrying capacity of a habitat area.

Smith said deployment of artificial reefs in WA would not proceed, until suitable sites were selected, community consultation was carried out and regulatory approvals could be completed. He said the process is likely to take at least two years.

More details on artificial reefs and the study tour report are available at

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