Building new homes for fish - one reef at a time. The Long Bay Artificial Reef Association is working to establish a new reef in Brunswick County to help boost the fishing industry. The proposed artificial reef would be constructed about two and a half miles off the coast of Oak Island. If it does come to happen, it may become a popular spot for fish and fishermen alike. "It starts a new food chain. You start with a clean piece of pipe. And it starts at the bottom of the (food) chain with the microorganisms and it goes right up to your fish, to your table fare,” said Bob Black, the project’s coordinator. So how does it work? Man made material like old ships, or in this case, concrete pipes are sunk to the bottom of the ocean. The material is placed in a strategic way to create new reefs and new homes for fish. Before going underwater, the materials must pass a series of regulations. "All material we've ever used on our reefs is environmentally safe. We cannot put any material and don't desire to put any material on a reef site that's approved by the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries,” Black said. Once established, the new reefs should mean more fish in this marine community. "That means more boats that can go out there and get on the water and spend money in our town and keep the dollars here,” said Karen Pahr of the Oak Island Chamber of Commerce. Town leaders are open to the new project and are happy to have their waters considered. "Its an interesting project, its interesting in the way it works. I just happen to be familiar enough with it because I’ve been here a long time and watched it happen before. But its always been a success,” said Oak Island Mayor Johnnie Vereen.
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