Artificial Reefs


Artificial Reefs are becoming popular in many diving destinations around the world and the reasons for creating an artificial reef varies in different Oceans.

Artificial reefs allow researchers and conservationists to study how nature restores itself artificially and new coral formations grow on the structure.

They also benefit the marine environment that is under threat from coral bleaching or pollution.

How do artificial reefs help nature restore itself?

There are three main ways that Artificial Reefs are created;

  1. By Accident - such as during a storm a natural disaster
  2. On Purpose - e.g. intentionally sinking a ship creating a reef
  3. Man-made Reefs - e.g. constructed using various materials

Some of the benefits of Artificial Reefs is that they provide an important opportunity for marine biologists and underwater scientists to learn how coral reefs develop and how they interact with fish species.

Another benefit is that an artificial reef helps nature to restore itself if the original reef is distressed or destroyed from over fishing, anchoring or pollution.

Further advantages could include the increased revenue from tourism if the reefs attract divers and tourists to the area. Tourism is a huge industry and many diving destinations are benefiting from a new stream of scuba diving visitors.

Wrecks attract almost all divers to the mystery and intrigue of diving around a structure that wouldn't normally be found under water and this also has a positive side effect that it generally avoids excessive diving on the original coral reefs.

Examples of Artificial Reefs include;

Artificial reefs are fascinating places to go for divers, regardless of the materials that are used. Although traditionally most divers prefer wreck diving more and more are now becoming interested in all sorts of artificial reefs.

Many do this because it is interesting to see an underwater world developing, but many also do it because they want to make an active contribution towards improving the environment, for example by taking part in the identification of newly formed corals or fish counts.

What is EMA (Electro Mineral Accretion) ? EMA (Electro Mineral Accretion) is a process whereby a low voltage current is applied to metallic structures which makes the limestone crystallize on the surface.

Following that, coral planulae are then enable to attach themselves to these crystals and start to grow. EMA also speeds up growth once the coral is attached.

This system works so well and is so eco friendly (it can run on very small solar panels on the surface) that further studies are currently taking part to use the same system to restore existing reefs that have been destroyed.

Generally, those who are fighting towards conserving and repairing the environment are very much in favour of the creation of artificial reefs. However, concerns are raised by some due to accidents and it's felt by some that human error could actually cause more damage to the environment itself.

Related Links |> Coral Bleaching |> Underwater Pollution |

Many artificial reefs are created close to the shoreline, where existing reefs still remain and a slight miscalculation can mean that these are destroyed completely, defeating the object of the creation of an artificial reef.

However, it is generally recognized that the creation of artificial reefs is a very good initiative, particularly if old materials are used, as this is a form of recycling materials that would otherwise end back up on the environment as waste rather than an option to regrow the world.

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