Major Fishing Reefs Intact After Hurricane Ivan

Alabama currently has the largest artificial reef program in the United States. Many saltwater anglers are curious about the effects that Hurricane Ivan may have had on those artificial reefs. A random survey by the Alabama Marine Resources Division shows that offshore fishing reefs built using public funds are in good shape.

Within two weeks of the hurricane, three Marine Resources crews made a random survey of the reefs. A grid was laid out and surveys were done of shallow water reefs, medium water reefs and deep water reefs. “We found everything we looked for and it looked good,” said Marine Resources Biologist Jim Duffy. “We were worried about some of the shallow water reefs, but even those appear intact.” Duffy said all the public reefs are built from very heavy materials, such as concrete, barges, military tanks and heavy-gauge steel.

Duffy said that fishing has reportedly been very good since the storm. “We hear from the local fishermen that fishing is great, so that is another indicator that our artificial reefs are still in place.”

Fishermen are allowed to apply for permits from the Marine Resources Division to build their own reefs. Privately constructed reefs are often made out of lighter materials and some of those were more affected by Ivan. “We’ve heard reports that many of these reefs made out of lighter materials have been moved around or buried completely,” Duffy said.

Facts about Alabama’s Artificial Reefs

More information on Alabama’s artificial reef program can be found on the Department of Conservation’s web site at