CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WECT) - Construction crews are creating a one-acre artificial reef in the lower Cape Fear River. The project is led by the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries with support from Carolina Beach State Park and the NC Coastal Federation.
An artificial reef is a man-made structure that mimics the function of a real reef. This particular reef is designed to enhance recreational fishing and create oyster reef habitat, according to a press release from the NC Coastal Federation.
"They're basically building mounds in the water that fish can use to feed off of," Ted Wilgis with the NC Coastal Federation said. "They can spawn. They can hide there and what we're also hoping is that oysters will land on those mounds and grow and make a big oyster reef."
Barges are deploying 700 tons of reef material -- clean, recycled crushed concrete -- into the river to create the reef.
Why this location? The lower Cape Fear River is a popular fishing location, making it ideal for the creation of a new marine habitat, said Wilgis.
The NC DMF Artificial Reef Program has been formally operating since the 1970s, and has a total of 68 permitted artificial reefs, according to the press release.