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Artificial reefs have been used to improve fisheries in the United States for over 100 years. Historically, scrap or natural material (vessels, brush piles, and rock) have been used in reef construction, much of this by local interests. In recent years, state and federal involvement
has increased. A computerized catalog of information on state artificial reef programs and all permitted United States marine reef sites has been prepared and can serve as a data base for improving future reef development efforts. This data base includes information on the 23 coastal states
and documents 572 permitted artificial reef sites in U.S. marine or estuarine waters as of 1 October 1987. Of the 23 coastal states, 14 have government (state or local) sponsored ocean reef programs. Although no similar data base exists for freshwater reefs, a survey of state fishery agencies
indicates that 32 states (64%) had ongoing artificial habitat programs. Collectively, these programs have resulted in the installation of an estimated 44,643 individual structures in some 1,582 bodies of water, including 427 coldwater streams, 45 warm water streams, and 1,110 lakes and reservoirs.
Most national and state reef program objectives focus on habitat and fisheries enhancement. The states and the federal government are stressing the need for proper planning and management to attain these objectives. The National Artificial Reef Plan and site specific state reef plans are examples
of this new approach. The expansion of reef data bases is a key element in improving future planning and management efforts.
The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.