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Reefs finally back to pre-Katrina condition

MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST — The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources’ (DMR’s) Artificial Reef Program has restored Mississippi’s inshore artificial reefs to 100 percent of their pre-Hurricane Katrina state.

About 90 percent of Mississippi’s inshore and offshore artificial reefs were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Prior to Katrina, there were 44 inshore artificial reefs, and as of early 2010 there are 67 around boat ramps, fishing piers and deepwater markers within a half mile of the shoreline. About 65 to 70 percent of offshore reefs have been rebuilt.

The Mississippi Gulf has no natural reef habitat, and the reef fish depend on the artificial reefs to thrive. The inshore reefs were created using crushed concrete and limestone. Since Katrina, more than 43,000 cubic yards of material have been deployed to restore and build Mississippi’s inshore reefs.

This artificial reef recovery project is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Emergency Disaster Recovery Program and through a partnership with Mississippi Gulf Fishing Banks.

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