What is an artificial reef?
An artificial reef is any structure placed by humans in the marine environment. Properly prepared and strategically located, reefs attract marine life of all kinds and provide easily accessible and safe locations for divers to enjoy.
Most of the continental shelf off northeast Florida is an unrelieved expanse of sand that provides a habitat for a limited number of economically unimportant species. In areas where natural rock outcrops occur, an oasis of life exists. These natural conditions can be mimicked by placing material, for example concrete, on suitable bottom.
Within a few years the material becomes encrusted with animals at the bottom of the food chain, and provides food and shelter for fish at the top of the chain. These are what attract the fisherman. Studies of artificial reefs around the state have shown that reefs can generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in economic activity for a local community.
Flagler County's Role
Flagler County's Artificial Reef Program strives to support and provide coastal zone management related programs for the public interest and benefit of Flagler County citizens and tourists.
The county works in cooperation and compliance with the State of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Bureau of Marine Fisheries Management and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to enhance the demersal fishery habitat and sport and commercial fishing opportunities on the near shore continental shelf and thereby improve the quality of life for residents of coastal Flagler County by promoting recreational activities and tourism through the construction of artificial fishing reefs.
With this program the county intends to:
- enhance fishery resources
- facilitate acccess and utilization
- minimize conflicts among competing interests
- minimize environmental risks
- comply with accepted principles of international law