Vol XXV   NO. 184      Friday      20 September 2002


Artificial reef balls new home for fish

ARTIFICIAL reefs are being strategically distributed around Bahrain to create new habitats for fish.

Fisheries and Marine Resources Director Jassim Al Qaseer says the artificial reefs programme, which started in 1982, should receive more attention from all stakeholders in order to have a real impact.

"The reefs are built by placing broken pipes, concrete slabs and used tyres in the sea after treatment," he told the GDN.

"We tie them together and anchor them with heavy blocks of concrete. This creates caves for small fish to call home and to hide from predators.

"This project is costly and although we have volunteers and help from some companies we are still looking for much more."

Mr Al Qaseer said claims by environmentalists and other concerned groups that the use of tyres is damaging to the marine life were not proven.

"We stopped using tyres years ago," he pointed.

"Anyone who has studied the negative effects tyres have on marine life are welcome to present their findings to me."

The latest types of artificial reefs that are being used are called reef balls, which are basically concrete balls of different sizes with holes.

"We've placed these balls in locations that we knew didn't support any life before and found on subsequent visits that there were fish living there."

Mr Al Qaseer said the directorate is hoping to introduce reef balls in the waters north east of Bahrain.

The reef balls also have a rough surface where plantlife, plankton and other weeds settle on, giving fish ideal places to live.

Alba has given the directorate concrete blocks which have been removed from a ropeway in Sitra.

"Some of the blocks of the ropeway will be removed to allow boats to pass and the ones left will be used to create artificial reefs after we add concrete slabs to them," said Mr Al Qaseer.

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