Artificial Fishing Reefs
Construction Methods and Economies


Our tug Chemical Trader pushes a barge load of concrete rubble out to build an artificial reef. This rubble came from the demolition of the Interstate 10 Blackwater River bridge in 1997. We are able to deposit approx 1600 tons of material in this manner.

At one time the railroads had a surplus of old boxcars and we put many of these on the bottom!

Old single wall underground gasoline tanks were removed from gas stations, cleaned, holes cut in them, and placed on the bottom of the Gulf for reefs.

Tank turrents were removed from Army surplus M-60 Main Battle tanks and placed on the bottom of the Gulf off of Okaloosa County as a reef site.

The above types of reefs are considered "Items of Opportunity". These and other similar items such as ships, airplanes and cleaned old rigs, are considered the best because they make a larger "footprint" for the reef site at the least cost per area or ton. Other fabricated items such as "reef balls" provide a way to construct reefs when the above items are not available.

Click on the "Camera" icons below to see more photos of reefs.

Freighter "Antares" is sunk as a reef.

Prefabricated Reef "Module" is deployed.

Fish like Automobiles!

Bridge Piece

Bridge Piece one year later!

Shoving off concrete!

Amphibious Tanks!
Bridge Piece

Tug Deborah goes to the fishes 6/24/99
Bridge Piece

Old Escambia River Bridge becomes a reef!
Bridge Piece

Escambia (Pensacola) Reef Coordinates.

Okaloosa Reef Coordinates.

Alabama's Artificial Reef Program

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The Economic Impact and Importance of Artificial Reefs in Northwest Florida

In December, 1998, an economic report was published by Florida State University. Dr. Frederick W. Bell, Professor, Dept. of Economics; Dr. Mark A. Bonn, Assoc. Professor, Dept. of Hospitality Administration; and Dr. Vernon R. Leeworthy, Chief Economist with the Strategic Envoronmental Assessment Div. of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the U. S. Dept. of Commerce produced this report for the Office of Fisheries Management and Assistance Service of the Florida Dept. of Environmental Administration.

The following information has been obtained from that report.

Combined Economic Impact on Escambia County, Florida of Those Fishers and Divers Using Artificial Reefs *

Economic Variable                       Visitors             Residents             Total

Expenditures(millions)                   $71.58                 $21.23             $92.81

Wages Generated(millions)           $15.70                   $3.23               $8.93

Full & Part Time
Employment(millions)                      1.614                    327                  1.941

* The Above information is from page 371, table 5.30

On the last page of the report (p.387), they conclude with the following observation:

"Fishers and divers felt that reef systems were presently not too crowded with other users, but obviously perceived that this may be a problem in the future. That is, fishers and divers did not feel there were presently too many artivicial reefs. These users overwhelmingly agreed that artificial reefs increase the abundance of fish, thereby leading to higer catch rate on artificial reefs. We have discussed the issue facing artificial reefs as to whether they hasten verfishing by merely redistributing an existing population of fish rather than increasing the size of the biomass. This remains an unanswered question. Few anglers felt that artificial reefs were more productive than natural reef systems. * Finally, fishers and divers agreed that artificial reefs should be in water less than 150 feet. In general, it would appear that fishers and divers are well satisfied with the present artificial reef program, but feel it should be expanded to accommodate the perceived increase in demand for this recreational aid. The use value alone indicates a considerable support for increased funding to provide more artificial reefs off the Northwest coast of Florida. The reader should see each chapter for a detailed discussion of fisher and diver evaluations for each county."

* It should be noted that the Gulf of Mexico off of Northwest Florida is a sandy bottom and generally does not support a natural reef ecosysem - Ted Brown.

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Since Feb. 12, 1999

Last Modified 05/03/2003

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