MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – On May 2, The Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association deployed 35 new “Super Reefs” into the Gulf.
These new artificial reefs are the first of their kind in the state of Florida.
They were originally deployed off Orange Beach, Alabama, and have proven to be a better habitat for marine life due to their large size and cone-like shape, which reduce snags from fishing lines and anchor hangs.
The “Super Reef” design is more welcoming to a wide variety of marine life.
“Also with this new version, there is an opening up at the apex, they dropped one of the three walls down creating a larger opening for larger turtles, in the event they get in through one of the lower windows and want to go directly straight up they can get out with relatively some ease.”
Because the pyramids stand 25 feet tall, they create a habitat for marine life throughout the upper and lower levels of water.
The underwater environment responds almost immediately to the superstructures.
Research shows that artificial reefs reach maturity within two years, and the benefits aren’t just for the fish.
“The good thing about artificial reef programs is that they are good for the community and the local economy… social economic studies have been done showing that there’s a 130 dollar annual return for each dollar invested,” Cox explained.
The Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association hopes to add and develop more structures over the next several years and work with other counties to support the overall reef community here in the Panhandle.