Every living thing requires habitat to thrive. The human population explosion over the last 150 years has eliminated a huge amount of habitat that fish need for shelter and food. So what do we do about that? Tearing down peoples homes, businesses and other structures on or near the water, or removing break walls at the entrances of harbors to return habitats to what they once were is not a feasible option in most cities. What we can do to support Mother Nature is not only be more careful about protecting existing natural ocean habitats, but also create additional habitat where practical and appropriate. Artificial reefs are a proven way to create much needed ocean habitat.

Once thought as only attracting fish and other ocean life: now numerous scientific studies show that artificial reefs also create additional fish through the increased biodiversity/habitat associate with a new reef. In fact, studies exist that show artificial reefs can be more productive than natural reefs. With the current focus on 30x30 it is time to take another look at the creation of artificial reefs as a real opportunity to support and create needed biodiversity and habitat.  The studies below provide the science that outlines the wisdom of doing just that.      


1. Roa-Ureta, Ruben H., Miguel N. Santos, and Francisco Leitão. "Modelling long-term fisheries data to resolve the attraction versus production dilemma of artificial reefs." Ecological Modelling 407 (2019): 108727.

2. Paxton, Avery B., et al. "Artificial reefs facilitate tropical fish at their range edge." Communications biology 2.1 (2019): 1-7.

3. Mills KA, Hamer PA, Quinn GP (2017) Artificial reefs create distinct fish assemblages. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 585:155-173. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12390

4. Belhassen, Yaniv, et al. "Evaluating the attractiveness and effectiveness of artificial coral reefs as a recreational ecosystem service." Journal of environmental management 203 (2017): 448-456.

5. Cardoso, Aiara PLR, et al. "Increased fish diversity over day and night in structurally complex habitats of artificial reefs." Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 522 (2020): 151244.

6. Claisse, Jeremy T., et al. "Fishes with high reproductive output potential on California offshore oil and gas platforms." Bulletin of Marine Science 95.4 (2019): 515-534.

7. Cresson, Pierre, et al. "Functional traits unravel temporal changes in fish biomass production on artificial reefs." Marine environmental research 145 (2019): 137-146.

8. Folpp, Heath R., et al. "Artificial reefs increase fish abundance in habitat‐limited estuaries." Journal of Applied Ecology 57.9 (2020): 1752-1761.

9. Frank, M. Artificial reefs: marine and freshwater applications. CRC Press, 2018.

10. Gonzales, Claire, Emily Hazelwood, and Amber Sparks. "Overview of Rigs to Reefs: Legislation in California and the Gulf of Mexico." LSU J. Energy L. & Resources 8 (2019): 359.

11. Hunter, Liz. "A Review of California's Artificial Reefs: To Help Inform Future Development of a Statewide Management Plan." (2020).

12. Komyakova, V., and S. E. Swearer. "Contrasting patterns in habitat selection and recruitment of temperate reef fishes among natural and artificial reefs." Marine environmental research 143 (2019): 71-81.

13. Komyakova, Valeriya, et al. "Assessing the performance of artificial reefs as substitute habitat for temperate reef fishes: Implications for reef design and placement." Science of the total environment 668 (2019): 139-152.

14. Layman, Craig A., Jacob E. Allgeier, and Carmen G. Montaña. "Mechanistic evidence of enhanced production on artificial reefs: a case study in a Bahamian seagrass ecosystem." Ecological Engineering 95 (2016): 574-579.

15. Lemoine, Hayley R., et al. "Selecting the optimal artificial reefs to achieve fish habitat enhancement goals." Biological Conservation 238 (2019): 108200.

16. Lima, Juliano Silva, et al. "Evaluating the performance and management of artificial reefs using artificial reef multimetric index (ARMI)." Ocean & Coastal Management 198 (2020): 105350.

17. Lima, Juliano Silva, Ilana Rosental Zalmon, and Milton Love. "Overview and trends of ecological and socioeconomic research on artificial reefs." Marine environmental research 145 (2019): 81-96.

18. Logan, Ryan K. Site Fidelity and Movement Patterns of Three Gamefish Species on a Large Mitigation Artificial Reef in Southern California. California State University, Long Beach, 2017.

19. Logan, Ryan K., and Christopher G. Lowe. "Space use and inferred spawning activity of three exploited gamefish species on a large artificial reef." Fisheries Management and Ecology 26.6 (2019): 558-569.

20. Love, Milton S., Li Kui, and Jeremy T. Claisse. "The role of jacket complexity in structuring fish assemblages in the midwaters of two California oil and gas platforms." Bulletin of Marine Science 95.4 (2019): 597-616.

21. Meyer-Gutbrod, Erin L., et al. "Decommissioning impacts on biotic assemblages associated with shell mounds beneath southern California offshore oil and gas platforms." Bulletin of Marine Science 95.4 (2019): 683-702.

22. Meyer-Gutbrod, Erin L., et al. "Fish densities associated with structural elements of oil and gas platforms in southern California." Bulletin of Marine Science 95.4 (2019): 639-656.

23. Moon Ock Lee, Shinya Otake, Jong Kyu Kim, Transition of artificial reefs (ARs) research and its prospects, Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 154, 2018, Pages 55-65, ISSN 0964-5691, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2018.01.010.

24. Paxton, Avery B., et al. "Meta-analysis reveals artificial reefs can be effective tools for fish community enhancement but are not one-size-fits-all." Frontiers in Marine Science 7 (2020): 282.

25.Smith, John Bridge, and Robert Clark Byrd. "Potential Cost Savings from Converting California Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Platform Jackets to Artificial Reefs." Offshore Technology Conference. Offshore Technology Conference, 2020.

26. Streich, Matthew K., et al. "A comparison of fish community structure at mesophotic artificial reefs and natural banks in the western Gulf of Mexico." Marine and Coastal Fisheries 9.1 (2017): 170-189.

27. Wu, Zhongxin, et al. "Artificial reefs can mimic natural habitats for fish and macroinvertebrates in temperate coastal waters of the Yellow Sea." Ecological Engineering 139 (2019): 105579.