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Artificial reefs : An answer to save marine biodiversity ?

Artificial reefs : An answer to save marine biodiversity ?
  • PublishedJune 5, 2023

Are you familiar with artificial reefs ? Artificial reefs are structures intentionally placed on the seabed. They are built from natural or artificial materials. They are designed to protect, enhance or restore components of marine ecosystems. Reefs improve organic plant production and animal nutrition by providing shelter and protection from predators. The beginning of the food chain is thus protected.

What are artificial reefs made of ?

They mimic natural reef system. They are made of concrete, whose composition is close to coral. Concrete offers a number of advantages. The material is strong, heavy, readily available and, above all, affordable.

Its malleability means it can be shaped to suit a variety of habitats. Thus, holes and cavities can be included in structures to provide shelter. Over time, the concrete will be cover with algae and species of invertebrates, sponges and plankton.

What are the goals ?

We can identify three objectives for artificial reefs.

First of all, the economic goal. It aims to develop biodiversity and biomass. The increase in marine wealth will lead to its exploitation for fishing.

Secondly, environmental protection. The aim is to reduce the damage caused by trawling. In Morocco, reefs have been installed to combat illegal fishing. Above all, they prevent violations of maritime laws. They target the use of trawler nets in shallow waters.

Finally, the recreational reefs. These are installed to attract divers. Sometimes, shipwrecks are deliberately sunk to create artificial reefs.

A solution to reinforce, not replace

However, fraud has occurred. Some companies use them to evade taxes. As a result, the proposed solutions are mainly a means of getting rid of their waste. Some of the proposed solutions are even polluting. Whether tires, PVC or plastic, waste does not constitute an effective artificial reef.

Furthermore, this answer is only practical with quality water. It can only be applied if there is still hope of limiting the consequences of pollution and illegal fishing. It cannot create biodiversity, only enhance it.

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