An artificial reef is a manufactured underwater structure that mimics the characteristics of a natural reef. They provide hard surfaces where marine invertebrates can attach and attract fish species to the area for protection and food. Many natural reefs have been damaged by human activities or natural disasters like storms or El Nino thereby reducing the quality of coastal ecosystems. With climate change and sea level rise this is likely to become worse.
They can be specifically built to promote marine life habitat or by chance, a jetty, buoy mooring or shipwreck. As a result, there are many thousands of examples around the world which show that they are focal points for marine life. Marine plants are the basis for stable coastal ecosystems. When formed around artificial reefs, they encourage a high diversity of other marine plants and fish to set up home in the area.
An artificial reef is not simply dumping a pile of junk like used car tyres in the ocean, rather it requires thought, planning and engineering to choose materials which are non-toxic, provide suitable habitat for target species and are located in an area which benefits rather than impacts on the environment.
As such this project is science led and may take some time to get fully operational as there is a need to coordinate many aspects, such as design, construction, impact assessments and environmental research.