We’ve been using artificial reefs to improve habitat for fish and other aquatic life in deepwater ocean habitat for awhile now. But we’ve just begun to tap their potential in shallow water.
For example, artificial reefs finally are going to be deployed in Florida’s St. Johns River, following years of research and discussion.
“While the artificial reefs will not replace the natural system, they will help. The nooks and crannies will offer small spaces for small fish to hide and live. The concrete will provide a surface for marine growth to occur. Barnacles and oysters are expected to become established on the rocks,” says the Times-Union.
“Not only do they become potential food for fish, they also filter sediment and other particles out of the water, thereby improving water quality. The small fish become food for the larger fish, and so grows the food chain.”
Up in the Great Lakes, meanwhile, a spawning reef of four acres is being built in the St. Clair River, to benefit walleye, sturgeon, and whitefish.
The project at Harts light is the sixth spawning habitat built by the Michigan Sea Grant in the St. Clair and Detroit rivers
During the late 1800s and early 1900s, those systems were dredged to create deep shipping channels. In the process, 800 to 1,000 acres of prime spawning habit were destroyed.
And out in California, scientists have discovered that offshore oil rigs provide some of the most productive fish habitat in the world. They determined that the structures are home to 27 times as many fish as natural rocky reefs in the area.