Posted on Saturday, September 27, 2014
Back in June we wrote of the wonderful idea of building artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico off of Naples to improve the environment, fishing, diving and eco tourism. Not to be out done we are striving to be the best in the world at this. What may have seemed like a pie-in-the-sky idea back in June these efforts are now moving forward thanks to some great local leadership.
Both the Naples News and The Marco Island papers broke the news this morning that the first reef is going in off Marco – and is fully funded. See the article at http://www.naplesnews.com/community/marco-eagle/deep-impact-artificial-reef-project-underway-in-marco-waters_76444456
In yet another audacious local project Peter Flood and his friends in Naples, Florida are set to build artificial reefs – lots of them in fact. Over thirty-six football field size reefs are planned between Marco Island and Ft Myers ten to twenty miles offshore in what will be the largest artificial reef network in the United States.
Why in the world would you do this? Lots of reasons, take your pick. If you are into fishing you might be surprised to learn (as I did when listening to a talk by Peter Flood at Trinity by the Cove this past weekend) fish will show up in eight hours. Not months hours. The capitalist in you will be glad to hear millions of dollars in dive shop and fishing charters will be captured. Environmentalists will love this as we return much of the sea “dessert” floor to coral reef wonders. Or as Peter would say he is doing it for our kids so they inherit something other than the wind.
Building a reef is a little tougher than dumping stuff in the ocean. The remains of past projects which dumped things in the Gulf, like culverts for example, can no longer be found down there swallowed up by the shifting sands of the deep. Peter’s reef’s are different however. The right designs (done by reef experts), with the right materials (fish species specific), over the right grounds. Oh yeah don’t forget once you build these things you have to get them out into the gulf – sometimes twenty miles out.
My friend and I once built our own reef by accident. We sunk his boat some thirty miles offshore due to a failed though hull fitting, spent some time in a life raft, were rescued by a shrimp boat and made the papers. I would not recommend this method to build a reef. However it worked. Within weeks we had one of the best fishing spots in town and only the two if us knew where it was – well the Coast Guard knew too but they do not do much fishing. And true to Peter’s presentation after a few years we cannot find the wreck anymore. The engines literally sunk into the sand and the fiberglass broke up and is distributed all over the place. You need the right design.
Don’t tell this to some of the local fishing guides but you just cannot go out to the Gulf and put things on the bottom and make your own reef. Well you could but it is not allowed and besides you need the right designs and materials to make this last. Permitting for this project is tough as it should be but applications are progressing along well according to Peter.
Want to have a coral reef named after you for all eternity? It will cost you $100,000 but all levels of donations are welcome to support this important project. Go to http://www.cfcollier.org/artificial-reef-fund/ to see how you can get involved and help.
We hope you liked this article as we are very pleased to see this project moving forward. I am looking forward to the fishing.
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Mark Goebel, PA is a REALTOR with Coldwell Banker on 5th avenue in Naples, Florida with 35+ years of visiting and living in Naples. After 25 years at Accenture, Mark retired as a managing director and spends his time helping non profits and building a Naples real estate team with his wife Nan. Talk to Mark and Nan about life in Naples and why they chose this place to live full-time over all others and enjoy Naples real estate.
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