ARTIFICIAL CORAL REEFS

Artificial reefs support biodiversity conservation, marine tourism, and act as storm barriers. Creating artificial reefs can protect sensitive areas of reef, and reefs can be custom designed to suit divers, fishers, and rare coral conservation.  

  • The construction and testing of artificial coral reefs provides employment and technical training, scientific and general tourism, and the chance to develop local industry. 
  • Well designed artificial coral reefs, with a variety of high quality habitats in a small area, can provide a wider visual and educational experience than degraded natural reefs. 
  • As coral reefs decline providing quality artificial coral reefs should prove a growth industry with global potential. 

“The aim of the organisation is to assist nature to improve fish stocks, marine biodiversity and replace reef loss as well as create a diverse fish habitat which fishermen and scuba divers can enjoy. Along the way the association wants its members to enjoy being a part of this challenging project for the community...”  http://www.divevoluntourism.com/dive-volunteers-do-you-want-build-coral-reef

 Electric Reef Image by Brandon Cole 

Left: A "Mineral Accretion Artificial Coral Reef" MAACR. These reefs can be made in any form enabling a combination of flexible design, ease of construction, a high diving and fishing tourism potential, and the provision of the sustainable management of coral reefs. This image is of recently constructed MAACR on the Australian Barrier Reef.  

MAACR'S increase the quality and productivity of our marine environment.

The first artificial habitats for coral were made incidentally, they include concrete structures such as sea-walls and pylons, metal structures, and even sunken ships.

The first artificial reefs made to provide concentrations of catachable fish were similarly constructed of concrete or steel, mainly in the from of reinforced cement.  

"The success of the artificial reef project demonstrates how the efforts of a few people can increase the quality and productivity of our marine environment."

A technology "Mineral Accretion Artificial Coral Reefs" first published in 1996 makes artificial coral reefs using metal frames and solar electricity. Mineral accretion uses electricity to “grow” limestone rock on artificial reef frames and increase growth rates of corals and other reef organisms. It can build up to 20 cm (8 inches) of limestone in three years.

Solar panels are used to power two electrodes supplied with a low-voltage current that is harmless to divers. The negative electrode is attached to the reef frame and the positive electrode to a piece of mesh.  Reaction of the electricity with seawater then forms the limestone over the frame.

These artificial coral reefs can be designed in any shape and size to make the best habitat for fish, break down wave action, provide habitat for coral, and designed diving sites for tourism.

Well designed artificial reefs have proved very successful with both natural and artificial coral colonisation and are very wave resistant. The reefs can be used specifically to conserve threatened corals.