SARASOTA – The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) deployed 36 habitat modules in June on three existing artificial reefs in Sarasota Bay. The reefs include Walker Reef, Hart’s Family Reef and Sarasota Sport Fishing Anglers Club Reef.
All three are managed by Sarasota County Natural Resources. Reef Innovations of Sarasota constructed the reef modules and provided technical expertise in their deployment. Some of the reef modules were built by students with Riverview High School and Boy Scout Troop 14.
The artificial reefs are popular fishing destinations supported by hardened materials such as rocks and reef balls. The modules deployed this week are designed to attract young reef fish, particularly gag grouper, during their first two years of life. The reefs will increase fish survival rates until they are large enough to move offshore and become part of the adult fishery.
SBEP plans a similar deployment next year at three artificial reef sites in Manatee County waters within Sarasota Bay. This project is jointly conducted with Sarasota County and would not be possible without the generous financial support of the Sarasota Sportsmen’s Association.
The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program is dedicated to restoring the area's greatest natural asset - Sarasota Bay. Its unique program strives to improve water quality, increase habitat and enhance the natural resources of the area for use and enjoyment by the public. Sarasota Bay is one of 28 estuaries in the United States that have been named by the U.S. Congress as an "estuary of national significance."
Partners include Sarasota County, Manatee County, City of Sarasota, City of Bradenton, Town of Longboat Key, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Southwest Florida Water Management District, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
For more information on SBEP, visit www.SarasotaBay.org.
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