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CCA and partner agencies install 50th artificial reef

Posted at 4:54 PM, Jun 12, 2024

ST. MARY PARISH — The Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana alongside partners installed the 50th artificial reef in the Gulf of Mexico.

Just 30 miles away from Cypremort Point Park, 110 "Cajun Corals" as well as recycled concrete were installed, enhancing the Ted Beaullieu Sr. Reef in South Marsh Island Block 233 that was installed in 2019.

"Each of these is about 1,800 pounds,” said Natryx Coastal Solutions General Manager Tyler Ortego.

Ortego said the company in partnership with Danos, produces "Cajun Reefs" through 3-D printing.

Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana Vice President of Conservation and Habitat John Walther, said this project involving Chevron, Danos and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has been a year in the making, costing upwards of $250,000.

”The purpose of this is to create a hard surface for marine organisms to attach,” Walther said.

“All of our waters in Louisiana have soft bottoms, either the mud or sand. So, we create these reefs to start the marine food chain This was a very popular spot right here. It was an oil platform that had been removed. People had been fishing this area for the past 50 years, and they hated to see their habitat go away with the platform."

Walther said as oil platforms are removed after they reach their useful life by law, habitats are lost. This is a way to start a food chain again.

"We're gonna place all this is pre-surveyed areas to enhance this artificial reef, to create the habitat, and to create a destination for our fishermen to come to and enjoy their recreation,” Walther said.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Artificial Reef Coordinator Mike McDonough said through feedback from fishermen, they were able to identify areas that were no longer hot spots.

”Talk to a lot of those fisherman,” McDonough said.

“Okay, what are your favorite platforms? What's still standing that you like to fish at, and what got removed that you like to fish at too? And these two were in that category of platforms that were already gone, but when they were standing they were really popular fishing destinations.”

McDonough said the next artificial reef site will be installed in the Gulf of Mexico off of Lake Charles by the end of June.