Tug Boat Reborn As Artificial Reef - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

05/20/05

Tug Boat Reborn As Artificial Reef

This is the final voyage of the Kay A. Eckstein.

"This is a tug boat," says Kerwin Cuevas, a Biological Program Coordinator at the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. "It's a 150 foot tugboat donated by Marquette Transportation, was in a fire on the Mississippi River."

That fire ended its usefulness on the water's surface, but not below it.

"In Mississippi and off the coast of Mississippi we have no hard bottom habitat for our reef fish," says Cuevas. "So we create artificial reefs for habitat for species such as grouper, snapper, trigger fish. And these are important of fishermen of Mississippi to target."

It's not just fishermen looking forward to the Eckstein's final plunge. Scuba divers say the next time they see this boat, it will be a sight unmatched in its surface life.

"They want to see wrecks. They want to see a lot of fish, different species of fish and that's what these artificial reefs are bringing in," says Cash English operator of the Dive Master Dive Center in Long Beach.

"It's going to be a tremendous change to it. The life that's going to be there is just astronomical with different species of barnacle, shrimp, crab, fish. Anything you can think of, it will start habitating there."

With a few creeks and groans and a final flourish of spray, the Kay A. Eckstein sinks from sight, but enters a new era at rest, and at one with nature.

by Don Culpepper

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