Artificial reefs are man-made reefs in the ocean. They are objects (e.g. cars, wooden materials, concrete rubbles, etc.) taken to a specific or selected area of the ocean to provide better habitat while increasing productivity of certain kinds of fish that are valuable to humans. For example, fishes that inhabit unproductive sand or mud bottom reefs will either seek for a better habitat in the ocean or will die if it stays in the unproductive or mud bottom habitat. To save the lives of these essential species, artificial reefs are created.
The majority of artificial reefs are built for fishing or for the convenience of catching fish easily. Japan, for example, leads the world in artificial reef technology and has been building artificial reefs mainly for the purpose of fishing and to enhance ways of fishing. The United States ???artificial reef programs of many maritime states are run for the benefit of recreational sports fishing, (SCUBA) diving, commercial fishing, waste disposal, and environmental mitigation; the materials used are mostly waste, including: concrete, rock, construction rubble, scrap tires, cars, railway carriages and ships. Only Japan and the USA have a national development plan??? (Yip, 1998).
Artificial reefs are not easy to build nor can they be built whenever or wherever one wants to. Thorough planning to building artificial reefs is essential or else it will negatively impact the marine ecosystem. Also, there are limits/regulations which are important because as it allows people to build artificial reefs it also allows them to build to a certain limit in order to conserve the natural habitats of ocean species. A few of these regulations are: The Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard require that no artificial reefs be placed in navigation channels or anchorages. Commercial fishermen must be allowed free access to historic fishing grounds. A reef place near a commercial fishing ground must be well marked so that fishing vessels can easily avoid it. A suitable site can usually be selected by consulting the various user groups of that area (Yip, 2008). In addition, permits are required by federal and many state governments for the building of artificial reefs.
However artificial reefs have major disadvantages too. When building an artificial reef, people mistakenly use toxic materials which give out significant amounts of pollution to the marine life (Negrini, 2009). Artificial reefs also at times do not reach the required amount of weight needed to be kept in one place. If these objects that made up the reefs float along the sea floor, it may damage wildlife or destroy nests. Artificial reefs at times are chained to light buoys or not chained at all because these reefs are not well constructed.
Economically, artificial reefs may not be helpful in the long run. For example, cars and streetcars which may last for six years for use of artificial reefs in the ocean, may affect the marine ecosystem in the long run because they are subject to corrosion to debris. More damage to the ocean also means economical strain because people will have to use money to build/rebuild marine life because it is essential to human life.
Negrini, R. (2009). The Disadvantages of Artificial Coral Reefs. eHow. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/facts_5523100_disadvantages-artificial-coral-reefs.html
Yip, M. (1998). An Overview of Artificial Reefs. , (), 1. Retrieved from http://www.sbg.ac.at/ipk/avstudio/pierofun/ar/reef.htm