Local News

Sep 24, 2013 1:37 PM by Rachel Cole - rcole@kristv.com

Artificial Reef Structures Deployed in Gulf of Mexico

PORT ARANSAS - The efforts to create new habitats for sea creatures, continued Tuesday, now that the weather conditions have mellowed out.

The plans to deploy about 150 concrete culverts or "artificial reefs" took quite a bit of manpower and cranes to drop into the gulf.

Project manager, Joey Flores with Callan Marine says these culverts will help habitat development off Mustang Island.

"It just creates like a bunch of little hotel type deals, where they can just come and hang out, it's very inviting to fish," Flores said.

The handful of the 200 hotel-like artificial reefs, range in weight from 5 to 35 thousand pounds. The structures are designed to sink and stay at the bottom of the water.

The structures have to be at least 50 feet under water to ensure clearance for boats passing on the surface and ultimately attract fish

"We embedded limestone in the concrete on each panel and the limestone reacts with the saltwater and it's going to create algae and that's what creates the coral," Flores added.

He says this is an environmental move for South Texas.

"The whole thing about the structure is it invites the little fish, little habitat and the little fish attract the bigger fish and the bigger fish attract the bigger fish and the bigger fish attract the people, Flores said.

The project stemmed after oil companies started removing platforms from the gulf during the last 5 years. Mike Hurst, a project volunteer with Saltwater-fisheries Enhancement Association says those old platforms we're acting as artificial reefs.

"It's replacing habitat that's been lost due to removal of platforms in the gulf," Hurst said.

He added that oil companies have one year after the oil stops flowing from that spot to get rid of that platforms.

Hurst says once the culverts are dropped the habitats will development immediately and create a draw for fish and fisherman.

"There's a lot of things going on in Corpus, Schlitterbahn and several other projects, so this is just a piece of the puzzle giving people something to do, to help create a destination in Corpus," Hurst said

The next deployment is scheduled for Wednesday morning in Port Aransas.

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