THE POTENTIAL FOR ARTIFICIAL REEFS BASED ON AGGREGATE BY-PRODUCTS: Final Report

Thomas Wilding, Martin Sayer

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Abstract

Executive Summary
Artificial reefs are man-made structures deployed on the sea floor which simulate natural reefs in some way. They can be used for a variety purposes including fishery enhancement and sea defences. Artificial reefs range in size from modest experimental reefs (50 - 100 tonnes) to massive full scale coastal defence works which weigh in excess of 100,000 tonnes. Construction materials range from decommissioned oil platforms to less controversial concrete blocks.
In an earlier report (Wilding and Sayer 1996) artificial reefs were identified as having potential on the west coast of Scotland as a pro-active method of aggregate by-product utilisation which, when built, could have positive benefits for the local economy. Foster Yeoman Limited, operate a large quarry on the west coast of Scotland and produce several by-product streams which currently have limited value and which could be used in the production of blocks for use in artificial reefs. Foster Yeoman Limited commissioned the current research which had the remit of determining the cost effectiveness of block manufacture using aggregate by-products, finding a suitable deployment site, investigating reef designs and sizes, opening communications with the licensing authority and calculating the funds required to construct the reef and run the associated scientific programme.
The research has indicated that an artificial reef development could benefit Foster Yeoman Limited in terms of product development and, as an experimental facility, help resolve some of the scientific and socio-economic issues associated with artificial reefs. An artificial reef has been proposed consisting of 50,000 tonnes of aggregate by-product based concrete blocks divided between 24 reef modules. A suitable site of ca. 16 hectares has been identified on the east side of Lismore in the Lynn of Lorne though negotiations are still underway with local fishermen. The reef complex will employ a variety of block designs, reef unit designs and deployment depths and allow for elements of fishery ecology, biodiversity modification, benthic disturbance and hydrographical interference to be investigated. Initiating these research programmes for at least two years prior to reef deployment will give an unique opportunity to undertake proper pre-deployment research. This element, often lacking in other reef studies, will allow pre- and post-reef deployment comparisons and thereby allow determination, in a systematic fashion, of the value of artificial reefs. The proposed reef complex will examine the commercial viability of lobster ranching and how the reef can be designed to maximise the return from this type of enterprise.
The research will assist in the development of artificial reef technology and could encourage the adoption of reef-based fisheries all over Scotland. This may lead to the development of a substantial market for artificial reef blocks.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherScottish Association for Marine Science
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 1997

Publication series

NameSAMS Internal reports
No.207

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