Rigs to Reefs Program

Don McAllister mcall at superaje.com
Wed Nov 1 08:35:14 EST 2000

John McManus wrote:

> Now that we know that 60% of the world's fisheries are overfished (at or
> beyond MSY, which most modern fisheries scientists consider to be
> overfished), a major consideration in evaluating the wisdom of putting in
> artificial reefs is the contribution of the structures to enhancing
> overfishing. If you can find a place that is not fished (good luck!)

I agree with John that we need to be cautious about using artificial reefs to
solve marine resource and especially biodiversity problems.  Most artificial
reefs are simplistic.  A natural reef with several dozen if not hundreds of
sessile species cannot easily be replaced by some concrete blocks, old tires,
junked cars, boats or reef rigs.  Sure in time they might provide a substrate
for attachement of some of the said organisms. Though one still has to ask why
did not nature do this over the last few hundred years.

Priority needs to be given to identifying and solving the problems that caused
the demise of fish stocks or biodiversity.  Throwing together artificial reefs
will not solve those problems and those problems will continue to afflict any
regenerative capacity, small or other, that the artificial reef might have.

I do not rule out artificial reefs in all cases.  But their function, design,
and siting needs profound consideration in circumstances which might justify
their use.

Above all we need some honest and full evaluations of existing artificial reefs,
and some experiments with full before and after analyses to answer questions
about recruitment to the structures in the long and short-term.

Don McAllister
Ocean Voice International

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