Evaluating the role of artificial reefs as hotspots of biological productivity
University of West Florida
DWH Project Funding
Known Leveraged Funding
The U.S. Department of Treasury
The RESTORE Act Funds Bucket 5: Centers of Excellence Research Grant Program
Marine fisheries are second only to tourism as an economic driver in Florida. Valued marine reef fish such as gag grouper are overfished. Deepwater Horizon oil spill restoration funds for artificial reefs (AR) off the Florida Panhandle are intended to generate new fishing opportunities and compensate for fishery closures during the spill. Artificial reefs may increase productivity of reef fish stocks in the northern Gulf of Mexico; if so, this enhanced productivity is not accounted for in stock assessment models. Recent studies in other regions suggest this should be assessed based on overall ecosystem productivity, not just the number of fish in a single stock. The goal of this project to examine this issue on recently deployed artificial reefs off Northwest Florida.
Location is center of study area