About $2 million from Coastal Recreational Fishing Licenses will go to enhance artificial reef sites off the North Carolina coast.
The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries’ Artificial Reef Program outlined a four-year improvement plan at a series of meetings in Raleigh, Ocracoke and Wilmington. Another public meeting will take place in Morehead City at Thursday evening. Artificial Reef Coordinator Jordan Byrum said $500,000 will be allocated each year to add large vessels, reef balls and concrete pipes at four existing reef sites.
“We’re going around holding these public meetings and we’re inviting the public, we sent directed invites to some fishing clubs, some reef organizations and dive clubs that we’ve interacted with in the past to solicit input as far as what kinds of materials they want and which reef sites they’d like those materials to go to.”
Artificial reefs create habitat for fish close to shore, Byrum said, allowing anglers and divers easy access to the sites. The State’s Artificial Reef Program maintains 43 ocean reefs along the North Carolina coast.