Perth school students have used their engineering skills to help create some of the modules that will be used to construct a new fishing hot spot about seven kilometres offshore from Ocean Reef.
The McGowan Government’s $1 million North Metropolitan Artificial Reef project has all the environmental approvals required and is scheduled for installation early in 2021.
This will be the seventh purpose-built artificial reef to be installed in Western Australia in the past eight years. Other reefs are already located off Dunsborough, Bunbury, Mandurah, south of Rottnest Island, Esperance and in Exmouth Gulf.
Artificial reefs are funded from recreational fishing licence fees that are invested back into recreational fishing through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund.
About 20 students from schools across Perth – participating in a STEM program named Future Engineers that is run by the WISE Professional Network for high school girls in years 8 to 12 – worked with contracting Subcon Blue Solutions to cast some of the modules that will form the reef.
Installed at a depth of 27 metres, the new artificial reef will enhance fish diversity and create new recreational fishing and diving opportunities to attract more visitors to the area.
It will consist of 292 low relief concrete modules, ranging in size from 0.7m to 1.8m, and span an area of 150,000 square metres.
The modules are designed to attract multiple fish species including yellowtail kingfish, Samson fish, silver trevally and pink snapper.
As stated by Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley:
“It is exciting to see our next generation of engineers and scientists taking the opportunity to get involved in the artificial reef project through the Future Engineers program and Subcon Blue Solutions.
“Artificial reefs are a fantastic addition to our marine environment and provide recreational fishers and divers with new and unique fishing and diving experiences without having to travel long distances.
“We have worked closely with Recfishwest on the location and design of the reef to maximise the benefits to those living in our rapidly expanding northern suburbs and to attract more visitors to utilise the reef area.
“Increasing fishing and diving activity in the Ocean Reef area will provide direct benefits to local businesses with the potential to create jobs and tourism opportunities in the future, particularly as the development of the Ocean Reef Marina progresses.”