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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Scientists say artificial reefs may help restore red snapper stocks in the Gulf Coast
2 July 2009

BILOXI, Miss. (AP) - Marine biologists are studying how artificial reefs may help restore red snapper numbers.

The study is being conducted by Mississippi State University's Forest and Wildlife Research Center and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources.

Commercial fishing for red snapper contribute about $40 million to the Gulf Coast economy, and more than 500,000 anglers participate in recreational saltwater fishing in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, according to a 2006 survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

"In the last two decades, red snapper stocks are estimated to have declined by as much as 90 percent in the northern Gulf of Mexico," Mississippi State University biologist Don Jackson said.

Jackson said overfishing and high juvenile by-catch mortality in the shrimp trawl industry are most likely to blame for the red snapper stock reduction. Commercially, red snapper are typically caught with multi-hook gear and reels or shrimp trawls.

Hurricane Katrina in 2005 destroyed many of the artificial reefs that were in place and functioning along the Gulf Coast.

"The use of artificial reefs is not a new concept," Jackson said. "They have been employed for the last 20 years in the northern Gulf of Mexico to enhance Gulf fisheries and fish stocks. The reefs provide a place of refuge and forage for reef fish like red snapper.

"What we don't know is how the placement or design of these reefs affect red snapper stocks."

The ideal placement of artificial reefs has not been previously addressed on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Kerwin Cuevas, head of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources' Artificial Reef Bureau, said the department has been placing artificial reef material, such as concrete rubble and decommissioned shrimp boats, in the coastal waters off of Mississippi for a number of years.

Cuevas said officials had not given "much thought to how we were placing the material and how that might affect our desired results."

"Now we are trying to determine which pattern of artificial reefs will provide the best habitat for juvenile red snapper," he said.

Cuevas said researchers have completed 26 sampling trips on the reefs that have been placed in various experimental configurations. They use baited fish traps to collect samples.

"We have collected 927 juvenile red snapper, which is fantastic. Juvenile red snapper are attracted to the structures and using them for foraging and refuge," Cuevas said.

From the capture of tagged red snapper, Cuevas said evidently once the fish go to the structures, they are staying there. He said the question is whether they will stay and grow to spawning size, one of the keys to rehabilitation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Artist develops scavenger hunt game to be played on artifical reef
6 June 2009

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) - Divers visiting a military ship sunk as an artificial reef off the Florida Keys will now be able to go on an underwater scavenger hunt on the ship.

Divers can buy a waterproof slate with 12 questions about the Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg at local dive shops. The slate then tells divers where to find the answer on the ship. For example, the first clue tells divers to find the ship's "birth date" and points them to an area on the highest deck of the ship. The answers are all attached to the ship at depths ranging from 40 to 65 feet.

The scavenger hunt slate sells for $12.99. It was developed by local diver and metal artist Ann Lorraine Labriola.

The Vandenberg was sunk in May.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Officials sink massive WWII-era ship off Key West, creating 1 of world's largest manmade reefs
27 May 2009

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) - A 13-year project to create a new artificial reef off the Florida Keys for sport divers and anglers culminated Wednesday with the scuttling of a 523-foot-long former U.S. Air Force missile tracking ship.

It took just a minute and 54 seconds to sink the Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg after demolition experts triggered a series of explosives that lined both sides of the ship's bilge area below the waterline. Key West City Manager and Vandenberg project administrator Jim Scholl confirmed the ship settled on the bottom of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary in an upright position.

A dive team verified that all charges exploded, Scholl said, but said they were continuing assessments to verify the wreck's structural integrity before opening it up to the public for diving.

"It was a pretty cool experience," said Joe Weatherby, who organized Artificial Reefs of the Keys in 1996 and chose the Vandenberg from about 400 decommissioned military ships rusting away in "Ghost Fleets" across the country. "We waited for it a real long time.

"We think this is really going to be a home run for both our environment and our economy down here," he said. "This is good business and at the same time we're taking pressure off our natural coral reefs."

Weatherby said it should not take long for the Vandenberg to attract fish.

"The marine life grows on the wreck and the little fish come and the big fish eat the little fish and just like that," he said.

The ship is now the second largest vessel in the world ever purposely sunk to become an artificial reef. The sinking also complete the Florida Keys Shipwreck Trail, a series of intentionally sunk vessels that begins off Key Largo with a former Navy landing ship dock, the Spiegel Grove, and ends with the Vandenberg.

Several of the ship's veterans witnessed the scuttling.

"I can't believe it could sink that fast," said Charles Patrick Sherlock, 64, a Cocoa Beach, Fla., resident who worked as a telemetry technician from 1976 to 78. "It's kind of scary to think about, actually, we used to live on that ship, and see how quick it went under.

"I am planning to come back in a few weeks with a group of guys (fellow Vandenberg veterans) who could not be here today, so we can all dive it," he said.

Ridding the vessel of contaminants consumed 70 percent of the $8.6 million project's funding resources and some 75,000 man-hours. That work was done in two Norfolk, Va., shipyards.
 

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Ships sunk to be reefs fingered as PCB hazard
Artificial reef group says risk to marine life off east and west coasts is minimal

8 January 2008
Canwest

An environmental group is worried that Canadian navy ships that were sunk to be used as artificial reefs may pose an environmental threat because they contain PCB-contaminated wires. But those responsible for the reefs say the risk is almost non-existent.

One of the scuttled vessels, the former HMCS Saguenay, has been sitting at the bottom of the ocean outside Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, for more than 13 years. This type of warship was built in the 1950s and 60s for the navy and PCBs -- that have been linked to cancer -- were not known back then to be harmful.

The man behind the sinking of the Saguenay denied a media report that it and others scuttled off the B.C. coast may contain PCBs because they were not stripped of all of their wires.

"Anything that was considered a hazard had been removed and any of the bulk fuel had also been removed," asserted Richard Welsford of the Nova Scotia artificial reef association.

Welsford thinks no one should be worried about the PCBs and said that very little wire is left in the Saguenay.

But Nova Scotia's Ecology Action Centre still fears PCBs or other toxic substances, such as paint, could harm marine life.

"There are no ecological benefits to sinking ships. They only do it for tourism and diving purposes," said Mark Butler, policy director for the organization.

"You have to be very cautious because you never know what you might discover in five or 10 years time that you hadn't taken into account. Once you put the ship in the bottom of the ocean, it's there and it's never coming back up again," Butler added.

But he is relieved that the Department of National Defence has decided to strip two decommissioned warships, HMCS Gatineau and HMCS Terra Nova, of all of their wires before they are sold to become new artificial reefs.

DND didn't have anyone available to comment Monday, but the head of an association that plans to buy the Terra Nova said DND had notified him the ship would be sold wire-free and PCB-free. It is reported that the work will cost DND about $1 million per ship.

"At first we were supposed to buy the ship and have it decontaminated ourselves before sinking it. But Defence changed its mind recently," said Michael Ryan of the Eastern Ontario Artificial Reef Association. His group wants to sink the Terra Nova in the St. Lawrence River 20 km west of Brockville, Ont.

"My guess is that they didn't want to sell contaminated ships and leave the responsibility to someone else to deal with the PCBs," added Ryan.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Historic ship to become diver's wreck
3 July 2009
© 2009 Australian Associated Press Pty Ltd. All Rights Reserved

HMAS Adelaide, the ship that came to the rescue of stranded yachtsmen and terrified asylum seekers, now begins its final chapter underwater.

The decommissioned frigate was on Friday handed over by the commonwealth to the NSW government and will be sunk off Terrigal on the NSW Central Coast later in the year to create an artificial reef and dive wreck.

NSW Premier Nathan Rees said instead of being scrapped or dumped, the ex-HMAS Adelaide would be used by generations of divers.

"Coral will grow on the metal you see before you, fish will swim through the corridors that once rang with the sound of action stations," Mr Rees said.

"And divers will find a place of contemplation and beauty as nature slowly reclaims her broken frame."

The federal government will contribute up to $5.8 million to make sure the ship is environmentally-sound by stripping it and removing the fuel tanks.

Defence Minister John Faulkner said the scuttling of the ship would have long-term benefits.

"I think this is a great project, I'm very confident we'll see HMAS Adelaide become a great national, and I suspect international, attraction for recreational divers ..," he said.

HMAS Adelaide served the Royal Australian Navy for 27 years, participating in 30 overseas deployments, including the 1991 Gulf War and peace-keeping operations in East Timor in 1999.

The crew of the HMAS Adelaide rescued solo yachtsmen Tony Bullimore and Thierry Dubois, whose yachts both capsized in the Southern Ocean during a round-the-world race in 1997.

In 2001, the crew of HMAS Adelaide intercepted a boat carrying asylum seekers near Christmas Island, rescuing all on board when it sank.

Photographs of the rescue operation became the centre of the children overboard affair.

HMAS Adelaide was decommissioned in January last year at Garden Island in Western Australia.

Sue Dengate, who rallied to get the ship scuttled near Terrigal, said Central Coast dive clubs had been working for 10 years to secure an ex-naval vessel.

Ms Dengate, whose son served on the HMAS Adelaide, said divers would continue to appreciate its history.

"When a diver goes on this wreck when it's sunk, they will want to know more about its history and that ... gets people involved more in the services and the contribution they make."
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Barge laden with chicken cages becomes Georgia's newest reef in Atlantic Ocean
29 November 2013

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - A hopper barge laden with chicken cages became Georgia's newest artificial reef when the Department of Natural Resources sank it about 10 miles off Tybee Nov. 18.

"It's going to make great habitat," said January Murray, who manages the DNR reef program. "It's a long and tall piece of metal material. That is what fish love. Encrusting organisms will attach to the barge and coat it. Fish will flock to it, where they can shelter, feed and reproduce. Now they have a home; it's like if you build it they will come, and they do."

The 254-foot-long barge, donated by Georgia Recyclers, was stacked with 330 steel chicken cages donated by Claxton Chicken. The East Coast Terminal Co. in Savannah allowed the use of its land as a staging area where the cages were stored and donated the use of its equipment.

The vessel had previously been docked on the back river, sitting there long enough -- about a decade -- that several full-grown Chinese tallow trees sprouted from its bow. As scrap, the combined barge and cages donation was worth about $225,000. It cost almost $20,000 to clean the vessel to environmental standards and tow it to place, according to Murray.

That's "worth every penny," she said, because the material becomes an oasis on the otherwise sandy and barren bottom off Georgia's coast.

Murray listed the expected residents: "Angel fish, trigger fish, black sea bass, snapper, groupers, grunts tomtates, basically the reef fish community," she said. "Also damsel fish, sting rays, sharks, jellyfish. By building the habitat, everything flocks to it."

Georgia's Offshore Artificial Reef Program covers 52 square miles and consists of 20 offshore reefs, two "beach reefs" and eight Navy Tactical Air Crew Training System Towers. The barge joins a host of other underwater material at these reefs, including New York City subway cars, M60 battle tanks and other steel-hulled vessels. There's also a natural live bottom reef off Georgia, Gray's Reef, which is a national marine sanctuary.

Reefs are a boon to fishermen, divers and conservationists alike, said Kevin Quinn, who captained an observation boat at the site of the sinking.

"Within a week there will be stuff growing on it," said Quinn, an officer with the Coastal Conservation Association, whose Sapelo chapter facilitated the donation of the chicken cages. "Within a month it'll be covered."

Biblia Inc., a marine towing and transportation company, prepped the 580-ton vessel and tugboated it into place. On arrival the crew opened a 6-inch valve they had created in the hull. But after more than an hour, the barge remained stubbornly afloat.

Something seemed to be clogging the valve, said Biblia owner and operator William Van Puffelen, who has experience sinking more than 30 vessels. To persuade the vessel on its journey downward, he climbed back aboard with an acetylene torch and cut out a rectangular hole at the waterline near the back of the barge.

More than an hour later, at 5:20 p.m., the barge sank. But not before Van Puffelen and his crew spotted the vessel's last sailor, a raccoon inadvertently trapped aboard. It had likely been attracted by the odor of the chicken cages, he said. The raccoon made a panicked lap around the deck and jumped off the boat as the stern went down.

"We were gonna let him get on the tug," Van Puffelen said. "But we couldn't find him."

By then it was also too dark for the DNR diver to assess the barge's landing on the sea floor. But a future dive is being planned for that purpose, and experience indicates it won't be long before the barge is bustling with sea life.

Murray recalled once inspecting an underwater site where 274 concrete pallet balls had been delivered to create a reef.

"I dove in two hours after, and there was immediately a great barricuda on the reef," Murray said. "There was no prey, but he was waiting. Once you build it, they use it as habitat and they stay."

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Information from: Savannah Morning News, http://www.savannahnow.com
 

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Bahrain to sink Boeing jet for underwater theme park
Excerpt
23rd January 2019

(CNN) — The Persian gulf country of Bahrain is hoping to attract divers from across the globe with a new "underwater theme park" -- an expansive diving site spanning 100,000 square meters with some unusual features.

The centerpiece of this underwater extravaganza? A sunken Boeing 747.
It might be of dubious taste -- but that's not putting the project managers off the concept.

The 70-meter-long plane due to be lowered in the water is a decommissioned, specially prepared aircraft.

The sub-aquatic project is the product of a partnership between the Supreme Council for Environment, Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA), and the private sector.

Announced via the state-run Bahrain News Agency, the diving site will apparently also feature a replica Bahraini pearl merchant's house, artificial coral reefs and art sculptures.

The site is intended to be ready for explorers by summer 2019, so plans are already in full swing.

The organizers say the new Bahrain attraction will be eco-friendly -- promoting marine life growth.

But marine specialist Adriana Humanes, who has a PhD in Marine Ecology from James Cook University, Australia and is currently based at Newcastle University in the UK, says that artificial coral reefs are not always ecologically sound.

"As corals reefs in good health state become less abundant and divers become more skilled and experienced, artificial reefs have become popular alternatives used by governments and the tourism industry to attract visitors to certain areas of interest," says Humanes.

"Wreck diving is one of the oldest methods used to construct artificial reefs by providing a structure to marine sessile organisms and fishes."

Humanes says that wreck diving provides "unique, diverse and intriguing diving experiences" -- but clarifies that there may be downsides.

"Their materials -- copper, copper alloys, aluminum, lead and steel, petroleum hydrocarbons and other potential pollutant -- can be subject to corrosion, [passing] heavy metals into the seawater and affecting the surrounding marine organisms.

Corrosion will also lead to the subsequent loss of structural integrity, potentially affecting marine life living in the area or becoming a safety threat to visitor divers."

The Bahrain Tourism and Exhibition Agency said the aircraft will be specially prepared before it is lowered into the water.

"All aircraft surfaces will be subjected to a high-pressure wash with bio-friendly detergents to ensure all post-production coatings, oil and grime are removed," a spokesperson tells CNN Travel.

"Furthermore, a vast amount of time has been spent removing contaminants from the aircraft. This has included removing all wiring, all hydraulic, pneumatic and fuel systems, and all adhesives, insulation, plastics, rubbers, chemicals or other potential toxic substances."

More : https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/boeing-jet-underwater-park-bahrain/index.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Bahrain underwater theme park featuring Boeing jet to open in August
CNN Excerpt
June 15, 2019

(CNN) — A vast underwater theme park spanning 100,000 square meters off a Bahraini island city and featuring a sunken Boeing 747 is to open in August, the Persian Gulf country has announced.

Bahrain is hoping to attract divers from across the globe with the expansive site off Diyar Al Muharraq, a city which sits across seven artificial islands. Billed as the world's largest underwater park, its centerpiece is the decommissioned, specially prepared aircraft.

Such a feature might be of dubious taste -- but that hasn't deterred the project managers.

The 70-meter-long plane is "the largest ever to be submerged," according to Zayed bin Rashid Al Zayani, Bahrain's minister of industry, commerce and tourism.

The subaquatic project is the product of a partnership between the Supreme Council for Environment, Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA), and the private sector.

The diving site will also feature a replica Bahraini pearl merchant's house, artificial coral reefs and art sculptures.

Residents and tourists will be able to book trips through licensed diving centers by August 2019, Al Zayani said on Monday.

"We are proud to launch this unique eco-friendly project," the minister announced.

More : https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/boeing-jet-underwater-park-bahrain/index.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ferry company seeks to sink old vessel in Lake Champlain
Excerpt
Mar 7, 2020

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A ferry company that transports passengers and vehicles across Lake Champlain between Vermont and New York wants to see a century-old vessel turned into an underwater scuba diving destination just off the Burlington waterfront.

The Lake Champlain Transportation Company is hoping to donate the now-retired ferry “Adirondack," constructed in 1913, to the state of Vermont so it could become the latest addition to an underwater historic preserve.

Ferry company Operations Manager Heather Stewart called sinking the vessel that has carried passengers across Lake Champlain since 1954 “bittersweet," but it's better than the most practical alternative, selling it for scrap.

“We are saying goodbye. All of us here, the thought of her getting scrapped is an unpleasant thought," she said. “But to preserve her and for her to be part of the marine preserve would be great.”

To keep operating, the vessel would need significant and expensive renovations at a time when the number of people taking the hour-long ferry ride across the broad lake between Burlington and Port Kent, New York is down. The bulk of the company's ferries now carry passengers on shorter routes that are the quickest way to cross between Vermont and New York, rather than the scenic, leisurely ride.

The summertime route between Burlington and Port Kent will still run, but it will be done with two ferries rather than the three that included the Adirondack.

More : https://apnews.com/a81f590bd8e27f1d85b32ced57392078
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
September 16, 2020-Point Lookout, NY- Governor Andrew Cuomo invites press and tours area where old railcars and an old tugboat are deposited into Atlantic a few miles off shore from Point Lookout, the debris will then attract fish and other marine life creating an artificial reef. (Darren McGee- office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

Governor Cuomo Launches Historic Artificial Reef Expansion with Rail Car Drop to Hempstead Reef by governorandrewcuomo, on Flickr

Governor Cuomo Launches Historic Artificial Reef Expansion with Rail Car Drop to Hempstead Reef by governorandrewcuomo, on Flickr

Governor Cuomo Launches Historic Artificial Reef Expansion with Rail Car Drop to Hempstead Reef by governorandrewcuomo, on Flickr
 

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Fishermen decry Gov. Cuomo’s plan to expand artificial reefs off Long Island
News 12 Excerpt
Feb 10, 2021

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal to expand artificial reefs in the waters off Long Island is hitting a wave of opposition from commercial fishermen who say it would rob them of their fishing grounds and income.

Fishermen who spoke with News 12 say they are already dealing with extraordinary challenges brought forth by harvest limits, the shrinking economy caused by the pandemic and the loss of fishing grounds.

They say expanded artificial reefs could wipe out their industry by further limiting their access to certain fishing areas.

The artificial reef program that began in New York state back in 2018 was created by dropping discarded metal structures in concrete off Long Island's shoreline from The Rockaways to Huntington Bay, encompassing more than 3,000 acres. The state wants to double the size of the reefs.

Bonnie Brady, of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, says the move will affect the ability of commercial fishermen to fish for squid and other species, which she says they rely on to make a living.

More : https://bronx.news12.com/fishermen-decry-gov-cuomo-s-plan-to-expand-artificial-reefs-off-long-island
 
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