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West Palm Beach Fishing Club installing unique artificial reefs in hopes of restoring the eco-system

Posted: 10:19 PM, Apr 10, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-11 03:57:40Z
WPTV ARTIFICIAL REEF.PNG

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Protecting South Florida's waterways one artificial reef at a time. That's one of the goals of the West Palm Beach Fishing Club.

For two years the club has been installing unique artificial reefs in hopes of restoring the eco-system.

"This idea was born out of frustration because we wanted to create some deep water fishing habitat off of the Palm Beach County coast to help rebuild populations of overfished snapper and grouper," said

Thomas Twyford, the president of the West Palm Beach Fishing Club Old ships or oils rigs have been used as artificial reefs for years.

A few years ago, another option, concrete poles resembling a pile of logs were sunk off the coast of St. Lucie County, but Twyford came up with another idea -- what if you could deploy the poles to come to rest in a vertical direction.

"I kind of theorized what if we could push these poles off the side of a barge and get them to stand upright and create a forest of vertical pilings.
Fish really like things that are up in the water column. Some of the best diving is natural reefs that have large shelves, or very high vertical profiles coming up from the sea floor," said Twyford.

Video shows the research team monitoring the experimental project in February. The divers already discovering new life.

"They found 48 different species of fish utilizing the reef dart cluster that was just put in the water 8 months ago," said Twyford.

"Tourist can come dive our artificial reefs and visit our natural reefs and give our natural reefs a break," said Jena McNeal an environmental analyst with Palm Beach County.

The cost of each reef dart is about $3,500. The fishing club is creating them and the county is deploying them.

The West Palm Beach Fishing Club is hoping to provide a template for other coastal communities so they can do the same thing.