Reefs attract fish, period, and more of them mean more fish, so we were happy to hear today that the Ocean City Reef Foundation hauled a load of 6.8 tons of block to one of their reef building sites. The GPS coordinates for this reef will be published, as with all Foundation sites, in their chart book listing all of the artificial reefs they build.
These blocks aren't just tossed out anywhere in the ocean. "Today we're working on a sunken barge that doesn't have a lot of complexity. It's the little places - hiding holes - that make a reef flourish," said Capt. Monty Hawkins. "We replicate it with blocks; Mother Nature prefers growth. Today brings our total to 17,296 blocks of many types. Jeff Bauer and Potomac Valley Brick have given us thousands of v-heavy block - 90 pounders. These today are from DelMarVa Power.
These reef sites are quickly colonized by natural growth, and soon after come species like black sea bass, tautog, and flounder. The depths and natural surroundings in the areas the Reef Foundation works are quite different from farther offshore ecosystems that hold a different mix of fish (read Bass N Blue: Sea Bass and Blueline Tilefish to learn about these more distant fisheries). In fact, most are within a couple dozen miles of the beach and many are half that distance - creating good bottom fishing areas close to home, where they wouldn't otherwise exist.
The foundation has been building artificial reefs off the DelMarVa coast for decades, and anyone can get the coordinates for all of their sites by joining the foundation by becoming an annual donor (yes, the foundation is a 501(c)3 organization and donations are tax-deductible). For more information visit the Ocean City Reef Foundation.
Editor's note: Read Capt. Monty's insightful article about oceanic habitat restoration in the Premier edition of FishTalk Magazine.