Rec fishing to get big boost

Catherine MasseyBusselton Dunsborough Times
Libby Mettam with Tackle World director Nigel Hoffman.
Camera IconLibby Mettam with Tackle World director Nigel Hoffman. Credit: Supplied/Busselton Dunsborough Times

A plan to boost recreational fishing in WA has the Liberals committing a portion of $12 million towards an artificial reef off Geographe Bay in Siesta Park.

The commitment is part of a $36 million plan to bolster recreational fishing stocks.

Shadow minister for fisheries Libby Mettam said recreational fishers and local small businesses would benefit from the plan.

“We will engage with the manufacturer regarding the best option for improving fishing stocks and addressing coastal erosion in order to maximise the benefits of the artificial reef,” the member for Vasse said.

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The $12 million for artificial reefs would be split with three other coastal erosion hotspots — Drummond Cove in Geraldton, Port Beach in Fremantle and Mandurah.

Increasing marine habitat, managing coastal erosion, and improving recreational fishing, are expected outcomes from implementing reefs in the four locations.

“Unlike Labor, the Liberals commitment is about planning for the future while maintaining and preserving what we have today,” Ms Mettam said.

In addition to the artificial reefs, the plan includes $12.5 million over five years for fish restocking programs — potentially including the South West and Albany — and $1 million for safety measures, including improvements to land-based fishing platforms, jetties and amenities at key fishing locations.

A $4.2 million commitment towards further protection and restoration programs of marine habitats was also included.

Ms Mettam said it was a plan for the future that would bolster the recreational fishing sector without jeopardising important fishing stocks and marine playgrounds.

Opposition Leader Zak Kirkup said protecting these locations was important for future generations. “West Australians are lucky to enjoy some of the most pristine natural marine environments in the world,” he said.

City of Busselton Grant Henley acknowledged the Liberal’s election promise and welcomed assistance to improve fish stocks and decrease erosion in the Siesta Park area.

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