Artificial Reefs

 Artificial reef development is the primary purpose of Florida Aquatic & Marine Institute.  FAMI was created to provide an official mechanism for people interested in artificial reefs to become active.  There is something for everyone to do.  Money must be raised to increase awareness and to have for local match funds when necessary.  There must be uniform follow up on existing reefs so therefore there will be a need for volunteer divers willing to invest time and energy into the training necessary to do the work.  If materials become available there may be a need for volunteer labor to prepare the items for deployment.  There will always be a need for volunteers to help in special events.  Two examples are the Centruy/Cobia Panama City Fishing Tournament and the Schooners LobesterFest.  These events are sponsored by local businesses in the Panama City area and they designate some of the proceeds to artificial reefs through FAMI.

 

Artificial reefs are multi-functional community assets that not only help the environment but also contribute heavily to the local economy.  Whether it is a large ship such as the BLACK BART or ACCOKEEK that draws divers like a magnet or smaller low profile objects like Reef Balls, all artificial make an impact on the underwater environment.  The Gulf of Mexico is a vast, flat area with little relief near shore.  The artificial structures provide cover for marine life.  This cover gives them an opportunity to grow, prosper and the reproduce.  This cycle of life begins almost immediately after a reef site is created.  The first visitors are baitfishes looking for a place to stay. The bait is followed by pelagic predatory fish and over the course of the first year all levels of the food chain appear.