Materials destined to become artificial reefs must be complex, stable and durable. They must provide a network of openings for shelter, be compatible with the marine environment, withstand the chemical forces of the ocean and stay in place.
Concrete and heavy-gauge steel are the most reliable building blocks for artificial reef construction. Petroleum rigs, bridge and highway materials, culverts and large marine vessels remain in place through tidal and storm surge movements common on the Gulf sea floor. Other large, durable and stable items, such as quarry rocks, are used to enhance reef sites.
Concrete balls and pyramids specifically designed for reefing are cost-effective structures whose nooks and crannies protect smaller fish and marine animals from predators.
Not Just Any Materials Will Do
All reefed materials must meet federal and state environmental guidelines. Federal and state permits and leases are required to properly locate and build reefs. Dumping material on the Gulf floor without proper permitting is illegal, and violators of state and federal regulations will be prosecuted.