Creating Artificial Reefs
In our sub-tropical environment, natural reef communities occur only where nature has provided a suitable hard substrate on the ocean bottom, usually in the form of limestone rock out-croppings, as a point of attachment and colonization for sponges, corals and a wide assortment of other invertebrates. Hard-bottom habitat is a very small percentage of the coastal ocean floor.
In 1994 the Canaveral Port Authority began creating two artificial reefs 30 miles offshore (28deg 20.08min latitude; 80deg 12.23min longitude and 28deg 30.18min latitude; 80deg 13.18min longitude), using steel and concrete boats, concrete culvert pipe, a space shuttle booster mock-up, surplus Air Force tankers and a Titan rocket transporter. Since then we have partnered with fishing associations and local businesses to expand the two sites to 51.7 acres each.
Man-made reefs can be as productive as natural habitat and remain viable for hundreds of years, and ongoing monitoring ensures that the Canaveral sites are viable. A myriad of living organisms inhabit almost every square inch of these man-made structures.