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More artificial reefs attract more fish, divers off Mexico Beach



PANAMA CITY BEACH, Florida (WJHG / WECP) – Since 1997, the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association (MBARA) has set itself the task of placing artificial reefs off the Bay and Gulf shores.

A $ 178,000 project has just been completed. Fifty-seven reefs were used.

"Back in the days when humans started to raise artificial reefs, there were concerns that we were only pulling fish from their natural habitat so we could catch them." Bob Stapleton, Captain of Spearit said.

As it turns out, many locals say the reefs are beneficial.

"This is such a great thing for our community, it helps the economy, it helps with fishing," said Jackie King

"We". "Stapleton explained that this is a habitat," said Stapleton.

According to Stapleton, the smaller reefs are better suited for fishermen.

"They attract a lot of baitfish, they are nursery reefs for the smaller fish," he said.

The larger fish tend to gather around the reefs off the coast.

"They are more desirable for diving because of the generally clearer water and larger fish," explained Stapleton.

"Because natural reefs are at risk due to environmental change and physical damage, reefs play a mitigating role in preserving our marine ecosystems for future generations," said MBARA President Bob Cox. "In addition, economic studies show that every dollar invested in artificial reef construction yields an annual return of over $ 1

31 to our economy, which is heavily dependent on tourism, recreation and seafood."

MBARA also offers commemorative reefs. King got one for her deceased husband.

"He [Jim King] was a Navy veteran for 30 years, that would be World War II, Korea and Vietnam," King said. "It's such a wonderful thing to know that I can go back and visit him out there and know the coordinates and enjoy the Gulf."

Jackie said that after calling the area for ten years at home, he loved MBARA

. He always said a sailor had to go back to the sea, "she said.

For more information on MBARA and its Memorial Reef program, visit the website attached to this article.

" MBARA needs more donors, members, sponsors and volunteers to make our program even better, "said Cox.


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