Bond University academic Dr Daryl McPhee will lead a national project on regulation and policy associated with the planning and deployment of offshore artificial reefs and fish aggregating devices around Australia.
Dr McPhee said the project is a collaborative project which includes the University of Tasmania, national industry bodies for the commercial and recreational fishing sectors, the engineering company Stantec (formerly Cardno), the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The project is supported by funding from the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation and the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment on behalf of the Australian Government.
Dr McPhee said that well designed and sited artificial reefs and fish aggregating devices (FADs) are clearly acknowledged as being able to benefit the marine environment and marine fisheries. They are widely deployed in developed and developing countries.
“Artificial reefs and fish aggregating devices can contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals as they can address economic, social and environmental issues in concert,” Dr McPhee said.
“In many countries regulatory frameworks are lacking or ineffective in the planning and management of artificial reefs, but fortunately in Australia we do have a mature regulatory framework that can adapt to change.
“As manufacturing technologies advance, new information on the biology and ecology of marine resources become available, and community aspirations change; there is need to better understand what regulatory and policy settings can best deliver optimal outcomes in our changing world.”
Dr McPhee said it was critical that planning and implementation of artificial reefs considered all ocean users.
“The ocean is inherently multiple-use and we need to ensure that the deployment of artificial reefs and FADs provide the optimal benefits without unforeseen impacts on other stakeholders and the environment. This is achievable.”
Dr McPhee said he is extremely grateful for the leadership and support of the Commonwealth Fisheries Association and the Australia Recreational Fishing Foundation in identifying the critical need for the project.