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Creating more fish habitat

Robert Cox President
Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association Special to The Star
The Star

The Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association (MBARA) continued to build more reefs recently.

The latest deployment was possible with grants from the St Joe Community Foundation (SJCF) and Coastal Conservation Association - Florida (CCA-FL).

In addition, five privately-funded memorials were dedicated to the Gulf.

In total, nine Super Reefs, 27 Florida Limestone Artificial Reefs, and three Grouper Reefs were placed to create six new patch reefs and increase the size of one existing reef.

The overall cost was over $157,000.

This was the second time SJCF has funded a reef. The new reef is called St Joe Community Foundation Reef 2 and is located in the Sherman Site.

The new CCA Reef is also located in the Sherman Site. MBARA also contributed funds with donations and monies volunteers raised throughout the year

The Sherman Site is halfway between the Mexico Beach Canal and St. Andrews Pass.

It is a very productive area for anglers seeking out red snapper and gag grouper. These new structures are sure to produce some nice fish next year.

The reefs are also popular with divers, often having some of the best visibility in the area. Most structures are placed in straight lines, making it easy for divers to navigate.

Five memorial reefs were a part of the project.

The first one was for Leonard Lindsey, followed by memorials for Brian Williams, Robert Durham, Andy Weeks, and Melba Joswiak.

MBARA President Bob Cox said memorial reefs are becoming increasingly popular as an eco-friendly and lower cost alternative to traditional burials.

MBARA’s next deployment should take place within two months adding 27 Florida Limestone Artificial Reefs to the Tennessee Chuck McKibbonville Reef and seven Grouper Reefs to the Courtney Knight Gaines Memorial Reef.

The coordinates for the new reefs can be found at www.MBARA.org. The website is loaded with useful information, including photos, videos, and surveys. You can also find information about MBARA’s memorial reef program and ways to help build more reefs.