Negative Effects of Artificial Reefs Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1105 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Other

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Building mitigating artificial reefs when real reefs are damaged fails to address problems of pollution, nutrient runoff and over-exploitation of the oceans, he also argues.

One of the biggest problems with artificial reefs is the impact on the environment.

One key concern in this area is coastal erosion. Insufficiently weighted materials that end up miles away from the reef site by strong winter storm (such as tires, etc.) can damage sedentary organisms of natural reef sites and destroy the nets of commercial fisherman's bottom trawl (Goldschmid, 1998).

Environmentalists say artificial reefs may be harming dwindling populations of fish (Dixie Divers, 2004). Rather than helping fish stocks recover by creating more habitat, they simply draw the remaining fish to fishermen's hooks. "Do they only attract fish so that fishermen can take more fish?" asked David White, southeast regional director of the Ocean Conservancy. "If they're just giant fish attractors, they're just leading to greater depletion of fish."

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Artificial reefs alter ocean habitats. An artificial reef transforms a sandy or muddy bottom habitat, which supports worms, mollusks and other marine life, into a reef ecosystem (Dixie divers, 2004). Many reefs are being created without considering the consequences of changing ocean ecosystems. "They can be dangerous," said Cufone, of the Ocean Conservancy. "We're not certain of the impacts." John McManus, director of the National Center for Caribbean Coral Reef Research at the University of Miami, said artificial reefs threaten depleted fish populations. Attracting fish from coral outcroppings that fishermen may not know about, these reefs create a concentrated population of fish exactly where the hooks will be.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Negative Effects of Artificial Reefs Assignment

Inadequate buoys and buoy chains, lost buoys, increase the amount of materials dumped into the sea, block shipping or mineral development, and are often difficult to find (Goldschmid, 1998). Use of toxic materials that pollute the aquatic environment (benzene-, heavy metals containing substrate) increase the already huge anthropogenic impact. Older artificial reefs are often not marked so fishing or other vessels cannot avoid them. This is extremely dangerous for divers, who are in danger of being trapped in these reefs.

In conclusion, while some artificial reefs may be beneficial, artificial reefs should create no hazard to navigation and the marine environment, and materials used to develop artificial reefs should not create the potential to trap divers or marine vertebrates (Thai Diver, 2004). Compatibility of materials with the marine environment is key to creating a successful artificial reef. Materials must be chosen because they meet the goal of creating habitat for marine fish and invertebrate organisms.

Bibliography

Bourjaily, Phil. (February 24, 2000). Rebuilding the ocean's rain forests. Environmental News Network.

Dixie Divers. (September 2, 2004). State debates tighter regulations for creating artificial reefs. Retrieved from the Internet at http://www.dixiediver.com/DixieWatchDogNews/state_debates_tighter_regulation.htm.

Goldschmid, A. Yip, M. (November 22, 1998). A Natural Reef System and a description of potential Damages: An overview of Artificial Reefs, Advantages and Disadvantages of Artificial Reefs.

Rodriguez, M. (2004). What are artificial reefs and why do we need them? Retrieved from the Internet at http://scuba.about.com/library/weekly/aa121799.htm.

Thai Diver. (2004). The difference between dumping and manmade reef activities. Retrieved from the Internet at http://www.artificialreefs.org/Articles/thiadiver.htm. [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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