An artificial reef in western Vermilion Bay, just south of Intracoastal City, Louisiana was expanded over the weekend of August 5. The reef, Redfish Point, was once a very productive reef, but has deteriorated in recent years. This enhancement to the Louisiana Artificial Reef Program will increase the hard bottom-fishing habitat for Louisiana anglers.
"This area was once a series of relic shell beach ridges that has eroded away over time due to coastal erosion problems and restoring it should help to bring back the abundant fisheries that existed in that part of Vermilion Bay for many years. In the late 1970's and again in the 1990's LDWF began restoring the area with the addition of relic clam shell. Restoration of this reef has become even more critical after damages caused by Hurricane Rita's storm surge and wave action," said Paul Cook, biologist manager of LDWF's Marine Fisheries Division New Iberia office.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in partnership with the Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Lafayette Office) is coordinating the effort to rebuild the reef at Redfish Point. The reef project received a huge boost when Shell Oil Company announced its donation of $100,000 to the reef. Funding was also provided by CCA Louisiana Matt Durand Construction and NAPA Auto Parts.
"Partnerships of this type make up the backbone of LDWF's Artificial Reef Programs," said Rick Kasprzak, LDWF's Marine Fisheries Division artificial reef coordinator.
The reef will benefit Louisiana's growing recreational fishing industry, which has a total economic impact of over $1.6 billion on the state's economy. "The Redfish Point reef is a long-term project, which will make this important area even more attractive to anglers," said Jeff Angers, executive director of CCA Louisiana.
The reef is constructed of approximately 3,500 tons of crushed limestone, which is the material of choice for the creation of low-profile artificial reefs. It minimizes the impacts on other user groups such as shrimping and navigational interests. The limestone was transported directly to Vermilion Bay from the quarry in Missouri via the Mississippi River and Intracoastal Waterway. The reef material was unloaded and placed on the floor of Vermilion Bay (latitude 29 degrees 40 minutes 40 seconds N and longitude 92 degrees 07 minutes 06 seconds W).
The reef's location will be listed on LDWF's Web site at www.wlf.louisiana.gov  and CCA's Web site at www.CCALouisiana.com .
For more information, contact Rick Kasprzak at 225-765-2375 or firstname.lastname@example.org .