Utilization of Manufactured Reef Structures in South Carolina's Marine Artificial Reef Program
South Carolina's state-maintained Marine Artificial Reef Program has begun evaluating manufactured artificial reef structures for consideration in future construction efforts on the state's offshore artificial reefs. Manufactured reef units may become a viable replacement for, or supplement to, many forms of scrap matcrials currently being used to construct artificial reefs. Designed reef structures made of steel, concrete, or plastic, are readily available through established private industries and offer numerous advantages to fisheries managers attempting to utilize artificial reefs as effective fisheries enhancement tools. To assess the usefulness of designed reef materials currently available, eight types of manufactured reef units were placed on two artificial reefs off South Carolina. The first reef unit design, consisting of low profile concrete pipes, was deployed in 1985. Additional designs, made from molded plastic domes, were added in 1986. The remainder, consisting of steel cubes as well as other concrete designs, were placed on station in 1987. Each design was evaluated based on its procurement, handling and transportation costs, as well as its stability, durability and biological effectiveness. Construction costs of test reefs ranged from $81/m3 for the steel cubes, to $168/m3 for one of the concrete pipe modifications, with a mean cost of $110/m3. Initial in-water evaluation has revealed severe stability problems with two designs, but detected no structural weaknesses in any of the unit types. Preliminary examinations indicated no measurable differences in established populations of target fish species on the different unit types examined. Two years of observations of the initial concrete pipe design are encouraging, and at this time these units appear to offer a viable option for a practical manufactured reef structure for South Carolina's Marine Artificial Reef Program. Assessment of the overall effectiveness of each design will be made through continued monitoring of each test reef over the next 2 to 3 years.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1989-03-01
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