A local fisherman has lauded the potential for an artificial reef off the coast of Port Hedland saying the development would have both environmental and economic benefits for the community. It comes as Recfishwest and BHP explore the possibility of installing an artificial reef off the town’s coast. The Port Hedland Artificial Reef project aims to provide fishing opportunities for the Hedland community, attracting people to the region and boosting the local economy. Several artificial reefs have been installed throughout WA to date, including stretches of coast from Esperance to Exmouth. North West spearfishing club member Robbie Peck said a reef would bolster the fishing industry in the Pilbara town. “Many of us have been dreaming about having our own artificial reef for a number of years now having seen all the other artificial reefs that have been deployed in other parts of the state,” he said. “Port Hedland has thinly distributed reef clusters with large areas of featureless ground, meaning that the good fish habitat tends to receive targetedfishing pressure. “Having the new fish habitat the artificial reef would provide, would help create more fish abundance and some great new fishing experiences. “The outdoor lifestyle is a huge part of living in the Pilbara and fishing is at the heart of Hedland. Having our own reef would help make it a more desirable location to live and visit bringing economic benefits to the town as well as fishing ones.” Artifical reefs are installed to create, restore and enhance habitat for fish, fishing and other recreational activities. Recfishwest chief executive Andrew Rowland said he welcomed the concept to create more fishing opportunities for Hedland locals.