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Reef restoration continuing

MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST — The Department of Marine Resources’ (DMR’s) Artificial Reef Bureau, in partnership with Mississippi Gulf Fishing Banks (MGFB), is working to rebuild fishing reefs destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

On July 29, about 300 cubic yards of crushed limestone were distributed across a half-acre just off the Ocean Springs Chester M. McPhearson Jr. community pier as part of the effort to restore inshore fish habitat and rebuild the fish population for pier and nearshore fishermen.

About 90 percent of Mississippi’s inshore and offshore artificial reefs were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. More than 60 percent of those reefs have been rebuilt.

During this year, the DMR and MGFB plan to distribute another 22,000 cubic yards of cultch material, which is often made up of crushed limestone, concrete or other suitable material, over 18 sites along the Coast.

“The inshore reefs provide excellent habitat for fish species such as speckled trout, white trout, flounder and redfish,” said DMR Artificial Reef Bureau director Kerwin Cuevas. “Fishing is such an important part of life on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and these reefs allow fishermen a way to have a great catch without going offshore.”

This artificial reef recovery project is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Emergency Disaster Recovery Program and MGFB.

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