|Monday, June 26,
Reef balls give fish artificial homes to
|Carp condos: Artificial
reefs provide more than just fun for sport divers.
They also provide a safe habitat for a variety of
underwater animals. (Submitted
The Daily News
BEDFORD - To a fish swimming along on
its fishy business, a massive ship hitting the ocean
floor is nothing but an opportunity.
reefs may be good for tourism, but they also make good
Glyn Sharp, a marine biologist at
the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, said whether
artificial reefs are designed for fish or for scuba
divers, it helps out the local fish
"You put in these habitats and it's
not a matter of new fish being born, (but) you very
quickly have it being utilized by existing fish
Artificial reefs provide a place
where the small fish can hide from the big
While it's difficult to prove if artificial
reefs translate to bigger fish populations overall,
Sharp said there are studies that show reefs enhance
production for many different species.
bad news is for the organisms -- like clams and worms --
living in the sediment where the ship lands.
footprint of the artificial reef will obliterate those
populations, but the positive thing usually is you now
have created a more complex
Scientists design artificial reefs
specifically for fish habitats. There are several
locations around Nova Scotia where "reef balls" are
used, such as near McNabs Island, Paddy's Head at St.
Margarets Bay and in the approach to Bras d'Or
Reef balls are hollow, spotted with holes,
and made of concrete. They're shaped like domes or
bells, and usually at most about four feet
Bruce Young, with the Atlantic Coastal
Action Program based in Sydney, said they bought reef
ball molds and placed 12 balls near New Campbellton in
"The reef balls weren't originally designed
for lobster habitat, but we've put some edges on the
bottom of them so they can become a crevice for the
lobster to back his way in.
Within minutes of positioning the reef
balls, a lobster moved in, he said.
installed the reef at the request of local groups, and
they still have the molds. Young said they're hoping to
generate more interest in the area to use the molds
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