Fish kill spurs groyne call

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Geoff VivianMidwest Times
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Jurien Bay identity Ian Stiles campaigned for 18 years for a groyne to be built to protect Jurien Harbour from seagrass build-up.
Camera IconJurien Bay identity Ian Stiles campaigned for 18 years for a groyne to be built to protect Jurien Harbour from seagrass build-up. Credit: Shane Love MLC

Retired tour operator Ian Stiles said people were disappointed at the latest fish kill in the Jurien Bay marina, after the previous WA government had allocated funds for a preventative groyne.

“The best advertising and the worst advertising is word of mouth,” he said.

“Although the tourist operators can apologise for the stink in the marina, people will go away and talk.”

Mr Stiles said he was one of a group that successfully petitioned the Barnett Government for money to stop seagrass entering the marina, using up oxygen and killing fish.

“If you look at every marina between Fremantle and Geraldton, they all have a groyne that protects the marina from seaweed coming from the North West,” he said.

“Jurien has the only one that hasn’t got a groyne like that.”

Member for Moore Shane Love said the Government should immediately use unspent Royalties for Regions funds to build a groyne.

“The marina itself is a significant asset and the previous government acknowledged this and had signed off on an $8.7 million Royalties for Regions project that would unlock the potential of the harbour,” he said.

Mr Love said Labor scrapped this project as well as the Jurien Boat Harbour Steering Committee established to address environmental issues.

Mr Love chaired that committee and Mr Stiles was a member.

“It was clear to the steering committee that an engineering solution is necessary,” Mr Stiles said.

“This was evidenced by five years of extensive scientific studies to monitor water quality, water exchange via flushing, wind speed and direction.”

Mr Love said he first highlighted the marina’s poor water quality as a parliamentary grievance in November 2013, and asked Transport minister Rita Saffioti to urgently address the “environmental disaster” after the latest fish kill.

Ms Saffioti acknowledged the issues’ seriousness.

“Department of Transport is investigating the incident to gain a clearer understanding of the circumstances and assist with ongoing remedial action to address seagrass accumulation,” she said.

A WA Government spokesperson said since 2013 more than $4 million had been spent collecting data and trialling solutions to the problem, which was being analysed.

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