In an evolving world where coastal sustainability is becoming more critical, artificial reefs (man-made submerged structural environments) are key to creating new habitats; ecosystems; and species diversity for various marine life, including fish, lobster, corals, and other aquatic creatures. They are also an important tool used by fisheries managers to support and enrich areas for fishing and recreation. These structures are designed to mitigate erosion, enhance the safety and navigation of ship passages, and improve surfing, while promoting the ecosystem benefits of marine life habitats.
Artificial reefs have been around in Hawai’i since the 1960s. There are five artificial reef sites in Hawai’i, four on the Island of ‘Oahu (‘Ewa, Kualoa, Maunalua, and Wai’anae) and one on Maui (Keawakapu). Historically, these reefs have been constructed of an interesting variety of items, including cars, concrete pipes, tires, barges, sunken ships, and concrete rubble. Since 1990, the reefs have been created using “z-blocks,” approximately the size of a twin bed mattress, made with donated concrete and reinforced with rebar.
Dr. Michael Foley, a coastal engineer at Oceanit, explains that some of the issues with current artificial reefs are that they look too artificial and don’t integrate aesthetically with the natural environment; are usually made from materials foreign to natural reefs; often have stability issues; lack the much needed surface area for marine life to flourish; and don’t provide the number or sizes of cracks, holes, and caves present on a natural reef.
By implementing Oceanit’s practice of Intellectual Anarchy™ to produce disruptive innovation, Dr. Foley is focusing on non-traditional methods and technologies to create reefs that will function like actual reefs, enabling marine life to thrive and proliferate.
Oceanit is continuing to refine the design, development, deployment, and cost-effectiveness of producing reefs in Hawai’i and worldwide. For more information, please contact Oceanit at [email protected].