Capstone Title

Artificial Reefs: Their Usefulness in Recruiting Juvenile Fishes and Increasing Fisheries Production

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

First Advisor



Artificial reefs have been used in the United States in order to turn barren, unproductive substrate into highly productive environments. For many years the only purpose of artificial reefs has been to aggregate important gamefish. Increasing fishing pressure and decreasing coastal and estuarine environmental quality have contributed to a depletion in fish stocks. Coastal and estuarine areas serve as important nursery grounds for many species of fish. Deployment of artificial reefs has been suggested as a means for mitigation of damage to these areas. However, if we are to mitigate the damage and loss of these extremely important coastal and estuarine areas, simply aggregating adult fish stocks will not provide a solution. Rather, it will contribute to the demise of fisheries by making adult fish easier to exploit. The answer may be to create artificial reefs which will serve as nursery grounds and actually help to increase the numbers of fish available. The purpose of this study is to review the history and biology of artificial reefs. It will be demonstrated that it is possible to build artificial reefs which can not only increase recruitment (provide new individuals to the population), but increase production (absolute biomass) as well.

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