Volusia County, FL, Creates Artificial Reefs
To support the local fishing industry, the Volusia County Council has endorsed a plan to double the number of artificial reefs off Volusia County’s coast from 45 to 90 as quickly as possible.
To support the local fishing industry, the Volusia County Council has endorsed a plan to double the number of artificial reefs off Volusia County’s coast from 45 to 90 as quickly as possible. To date, more than 64 artificial reefs have been constructed with the remains of ships, barges, concrete culverts, airplanes, Intra-coastal Waterway bridges, FDOT concrete roadway construction barriers, concrete telephone poles and other large pieces of concrete rubble. Much of the reef material is provided to the county at no charge by concrete pipe and pre-cast manufacturing firms. The artificial reefs are popular destinations for sport, charter and commercial fishing and diving. Funding for the artificial reefs comes from Volusia County’s Port Authority reserves and will not affect property-tax rates.
The county made its first artificial reef in 1980 when it dropped a World War II cargo ship in 85 feet of water about 11 miles northeast of Ponce de Leon Inlet. The objective was to provide nearby artificial reefs to offset increasing pressure on local natural reefs. The reefs immediately create marine habitats close to shore and start growing fish, shrimp and crabs. This supports our regional marine industry by providing easily accessible deep-sea fishing and diving. Now after more than 30 years, it is apparent that the county's 11 federal permitted artificial reef sites are providing the anticipated relief for the natural reefs located farther offshore.
Florida boaters spent $8.5 billion on nearly 21.7 million boat trips and related expenses in 2007 and supported 39,000 jobs in Florida. In Volusia County, more than 30,000 boats represent a $233 million dollar economic impact in 2009. Every $1 spent on building reefs brings $138 in economic impact/returns, according to a recent artificial reef economic analysis conducted in the Florida panhandle.For more information about Volusia County’s artificial reefs, visit http://www.volusia.org/coastal/