Cheyne Head site eyed for Albany artificial fishing reef

Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
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An artificial fishing reef in Esperance.
Camera IconAn artificial fishing reef in Esperance. Credit: Recfishwest

A site off Cheyne Head south-east of Emu Point is being eyed as a potential site for Albany’s new artificial fishing reef to provide a consistent fishing spot for families and new habitat for local species.

Albany was earmarked as one of three WA locations to receive an artificial fishing reef in the next two years as part of a $6 million State Government COVID-19 recovery plan for WA’s recreational fishing industry announced last August.

Seven artificial reefs have already been deployed from Exmouth to Esperance, with the Albany reef to plug a gap between Dunsborough and Esperance.

Artificial reefs provide habitats for fish species and sustainable fishing spots for families to access that are close to shore.

Three potential sites were identified when Recfishwest, WA’s peak recreational fishing body, met with the Albany anglers and local leaders in November.

Recfishwest research and development officer Sam Bock said they had narrowed their search to the Cheyne Head area.

Recfishwest research and development officer Sam Bock.
Camera IconRecfishwest research and development officer Sam Bock. Credit: Recfishwest

“Of the three identified locations, we primarily assessed each on environmental factors including depth, prevailing currents and fish species found in the area, as well as accessibility and safety for fishers,” he said.

“These factors contribute to how the reef will perform and produce high-quality fishing once it’s deployed.”

Mr Bock said the location off Cheyne Head was chosen because it was a short distance from boat ramps in Oyster Harbour and Princess Royal Harbour, and was accessible for small boats.

“We expect this location to produce great fish for fishers to catch including skippy, Samson fish, queen snapper, pink snapper and nannygai,” he said.

“The location is also relatively protected from strong winds and big swells, so fishers will be able to wet a line without worrying about rough conditions.

“However, the location is still under evaluation, which will include stakeholder consultation and a site survey to ensure it is a suitable area for an artificial reef to be deployed in.”

Mr Bock said Recfishwest would be conducting more stakeholder consultation in coming weeks and a site survey would be carried out in the next phase of the project.

“Once the consultation and site survey are both complete, we will submit a permit application to the Federal Government this year,” he said.

Construction of the reef modules and deployment will begin next year once the permit is approved by the Federal Government.

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