Artificial reefs have become an increasingly important fishing opportunity for Florida anglers, yet reefs are created and deployed to achieve a wide range of goals.
The 2010 Florida Artificial Reef Summit brought together noted experts, artificial reef managers, and fisheries scientists from around the state and nation to discuss current issues, hear the latest research, and share new ideas for future projects with other members of the state’s artificial reef community.
Florida Sea Grant, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the University of Florida IFAS Extension were co-organizers of the event.
The conference had more than 180 participants from all walks of the artificial reef community – scientists, artificial reef program managers, fishery and natural resource managers, volunteer research diver organizations, outdoor media, science writers, and artificial reef citizen constituency organizations.
Florida has one of the most active artificial reef programs in the nation. Approximately 2,300 reefs have been created and deployed in the state’s coastal waters. Everything from bridge rubble to specially designed concrete structures to retired naval ships has been intentionally sunk throughout the state’s waters.
Not only do artificial reefs provide recreational fishing opportunities, they drive a variety of economic activities that bring significant economic benefit to coastal communities. A number of cost-benefit analyses show positive economic results, especially in the local economies directly impacted by the fishermen and divers that come to take advantage of the reefs.
While artificial reefs have beneficial environmental impacts, in reality they are part of much a larger and more complex ecosystem, with effects that are often difficult to see.
For more than three decades, Florida Sea Grant has contributed to Florida’s artificial reef program by developing and disseminating science-based information about the ecology of artificial reefs and their construction.
Sea Grant research continues to advance the knowledge of reef ecology and the role of artificial reefs in fisheries management.
Many of Sea Grant’s coastal county-based extension faculty assist local artificial reef programs by providing technical information that can improve the productivity and management of these reefs.
For More Information:
Understanding the Ecology of Artificial Reefs: No Simple Answers, SGEB 65, Jan. 2010
2010 Florida Artificial Reef Summit Abstracts and Program, TP 170, Jan. 2010
The Economic Benefits Associated with Florida’s Artificial Reefs, FE 649, Aug 2009.
Artificial Reefs: The Florida Sea Grant Connection, SGEF 144, Oct. 2001