Letter: nothing to lose with artificial reefs

QPWS (Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service)

By Phill Kliese

I call on the Queensland State Government to implement an annual roll-out of artificial reefs up and down the length of the Queensland Coast.

With current and future re-zoning planned, human population pressures, land-based intrusions and fish stocks in decline (in some cases), there has never been a better time to offset all the above by introducing a pro-active schedule of artificial reef deployments. These reefs will enhance existing reef systems for all marine life, underpin depleted habitats, disperse fishing pressures and rejuvenate the recreational fishing experience as well as provide a significant boost to tourism.
The protocols have been founded, the areas for deployment are well known, and the expertise is at hand to physically and financially grow the recreational fishing experience as well as promote the health of the fishery and habitat. There is no down side to artificial reefs, providing they are designed to suit the specific area and also, that materials of opportunity are gleaned from the ever increasing interest to assist from the general business populace.

The Recreational Fishing Economic Benefit to Queensland is now over $1 billion per year and, for that investment, I see no reason that a small portion of those funds be set aside to provide the recreational fishing public with a return on that investment. That return is in the way of artificial reef systems in our coastal waterways.

How do we fund these reefs? Funding is already available with the Recreational Use Fee (RUF) putting in around $4.5 million each year and with a small increase in that of just $10 would see an annual fund of about $7 million. This would be at no additional cost to the taxpayer/boat owners or the Government. There is also funding available from the current Marine Infrastructure Fund (MIF) of which an initial $5 million could be sort to kick-start the program. The funding is something that does not have to be dragged from any current budget. Certain large multi-national corporations have expressed interest in funding the reefs as a part of their community obligations.

Just like our land crop/food production, artificial reefs have the potential to be a major player in our domestic food and export market, but that market can be overshadowed by the infinite ability of the Tourism Industry to stake it’s claim worldwide on the back of Queensland’s Recreational Fishery, underpinned by artificial reefs.
A great man once said, “I have a vision…” Well, so do I, as do many other Queensland recreational fishos, but it takes a politician with vision to make those dreams and hopes come true.

Let’s not blur the dream here; artificial reefs are a positive to the Conservation Movement as well. Artificial reefs are a Green dream. Our fishery is not about now or tomorrow; it is about forever.

A vision for our fishery must entail its circumstance long after our generation has passed. There are many agendas being promoted by various groups to Government and private enterprise, but none cuts more deeply into the Australian way of life than fishing. Recreational fishing in particular touches first hand more Australians than any other activity, including the work environment. The consumption of fish and related marine foods is deeply embedded in our culture and is, in essence, an everyday part of our lives.
With the combined economic input to our State and Federal Government’s coffers from commercial, charter and recreational fishing exceeding $10 billion yearly, it would seem a rational idea to focus on this as a way forward for not only the country, but its people.
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These big concrete squares are Fish Boxes and are for
shallower waters and many are spread over a wide area
to create a whole new environment.




                                                                                                                                                      These domes are Reef Balls.  Reef Balls have been
deployed in Moreton Bay, close to shore areas in 
about five or less metres, to service the
small tinnies and kayak fishos.