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A look under the sea
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A look under the sea

It's part of North Carolina few ever see, artificial reefs deep in the Atlantic Ocean off the North Carolina coast.

This particular artificial reef, or A.R., is a man made structure designed to help the environment. It gives SCUBA divers magnificent pictures, and is a sunken treasure.

"It attracts food and plant life, that attract fish, and of course fisherman," says Richard Carpenter, who works for North Carolina's Marine Fisheries Division.

That division is where a team of experts design and install artificial reefs. They're now preparing to drop many more below the surface.

They use bridge material, rumble, tug boats and reef balls, among other items, to build the A.R.'s.

Marine Fisheries has names for 38 A.R.'s off the coast, but there are dozens more for fisherman and SCUBA divers to enjoy.

To actually see an active artificial reef, you would have to take a boat. In Wilmington, there's about a dozen of these type of habitats anywhere from three to 18 miles from the shore.

"North Carolina is one of the biggest wreck diving destinations," says Paul Gregory of Aquatic Safaris.

That fact is what fuels Gregory's business.

"Divers come from all over the world to see fish life," Gregory says. "It's very important these wrecks are out there."

But A.R.'s aren't just for looks. Fisherman use them as a form of bait.

It doesn't take long to see the proof of that, fish surround a sunken boat, an artificial reef that helps the residents of the world under the sea, and the one above it.

Reported by Nicole Konkal

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