Inshore artificial reefs restored to pre-Katrina levels - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Inshore artificial reefs restored to pre-Katrina levels

(Photo source: MS DMR) (Photo source: MS DMR)

BILOXI, MS – The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources' (DMR) Artificial Reef Program has restored Mississippi's inshore artificial reefs to 100 percent of their pre-Hurricane Katrina state.

About 90 percent of Mississippi's inshore and offshore artificial reefs were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Prior to Katrina, there were 44 inshore artificial reefs, and as of early 2010 there are 67 around boat ramps, fishing piers and deepwater markers within a half mile of the shoreline. About 65 to 70 percent of offshore reefs have been rebuilt.

The Mississippi Gulf has no natural reef habitat, and the reef fish depend on the artificial reefs to thrive. The inshore reefs were created using crushed concrete and limestone.

Since Katrina, more than 43,000 cubic yards of material have been deployed to restore and build Mississippi's inshore reefs.

"The inshore reefs provide excellent habitat for fish species such as speckled trout, white trout, flounder and redfish," said DMR Artificial Reef Program Director Kerwin Cuevas. "Fishing is such an important part of life on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and these reefs allow fishermen a way to have a great catch without going offshore."

This artificial reef recovery project is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Emergency Disaster Recovery Program and through a partnership with Mississippi Gulf Fishing Banks.

"We are grateful to be working with Mississippi Gulf Fishing Banks and thankful to NOAA and Gulf State Marine Fisheries Commission for providing the funding to restore the fish habitat for our fishermen," Cuevas said.

The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources is dedicated to enhancing, protecting and conserving marine interests of the state by managing all marine life, public trust wetlands, adjacent uplands and waterfront areas to provide for the optimal commercial, recreational, educational and economic uses of these resources consistent with environmental concerns and social changes.

Photo: The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (DMR), in partnership with Mississippi Gulf Fishing Banks, spread 300 cubic yards of crushed limestone just off the Ocean Springs Chester M. McPhearson Jr. community pier July 29, 2009, as part of an effort to restore inshore artificial reef fish habitat along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The DMR Artificial Reef Program has restored Mississippi's inshore artificial reefs to pre-Hurricane Katrina levels.

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