A new partnership between BHP and Recfishwest will offer new recreational fishing opportunities and boost the tourism potential of the Port Hedland region.

BHP funding has enabled the purchase and deployment of five fish aggregating devices, known as FADs, in waters 20 to 40 nautical miles off the coast of Hedland.

The specially designed buoys are anchored in open ocean to aggregate small bait fish, in turn attracting larger sustainable pelagic species such as tuna and Spanish mackerel.

A State-wide trial of FAD technology in 2019, led by Recfishwest, resulted in notable increases in desired fishing species close to shore and in deeper water.

Recfishwest Chief Executive Offiver Dr Andrew Rowland said: “In Recfishwest’s discussions with the community, the passion for fishing and enthusiasm for this initiative shone through and we’re grateful to local fishers for their input and support in achieving this goal, which is another piece in WA’s expanding FADs network.”

It is hoped the initiative will provide new sportfishing opportunities for residents and visitors to Port Hedland.

“As the independent not-for-profit peak sector body, Recfishwest’s core purpose is great fishing experience for all in WA and these new FADs will certainly help create that for Hedland boat fishers,” Dr Rowland said.

“The installation of this infrastructure in open waters also addresses the significant community safety risks associated with fishing close to shore – iron ore shipping traffic at port, and fast-moving tides.”

BHP is proud to support Port Hedland’s passionate fishing community through the deployment of these devices.

Cindy Dunham, BHP General Manager Port Operations, said: “We know how important fishing is to the Pilbara community and we hope the FADs will help bring plenty of great fishing days ahead.”