Florida St Lucie Artificial Reef
St. Lucie County, Florida, now has two new artificial reefs after deploying more than 2,000 tons of concrete light poles that were donated by Florida Power & Light Company (FPL).
Deployed by McCulley Marine Services and SeaRover Services in late December, the two new artificial reefs have maximum profiles of 27 and 25 feet and are located several miles offshore in depths of 62 feet and 102 feet. The reefs consist primarily of 130 concrete power poles that were replaced by FPL just south of Easy Street in Port St. Lucie.
Funding for these new reefs came from a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission grant and the St. Lucie County Erosion District.
Preliminary GPS locations for the artificial reefs are:
• N 27° 23.551 / W 80° 02. 961′ — maximum depth: 102 feet
• N 27° 32.083′ / W 80° 11.433′ — maximum depth: 62 feet
Artificial reefs at similar depths have supported gag, Goliath grouper, red snapper, scamp and snook.
A study by the University of Florida shows that artificial reefs attract more than just marine life. After studying six southwest Florida counties’ artificial reef programs, researchers were able to show that the reefs reeled in more than $253 million into the region during one year.
While it only costs a saltwater fishing license to use the submerged structures as a fishing spot, anglers spend money on food, lodging, fuel, tackle and other necessities. Researchers found that $136 million came from residents, while $117 million was spent by visitors.
Since its reinstatement in 2005, St. Lucie County’s Artificial Reef Program has spared more than 18,000 thousand tons of clean concrete from the landfill, while at the same time creating nearly 50 underwater habitats for marine life, fishermen and divers to enjoy. Reports from divers indicate that the reefs are providing habitat for more than 100 species of fish, including adult snapper and grouper, snook, sharks and other fishes as well as baitfish and juvenile fishes.
For more information about St. Lucie County’s artificial reef program visit www.stlucieco.gov/mosquito/reefs.
St. Lucie County is conveniently located on Florida’s east coast between West Palm Beach and Orlando. Fishermen will find plenty of action from the shallow waters of the Indian River to the deepwater catches in the Atlantic Ocean, which can be easily navigated through the Fort Pierce Inlet. Divers and spearfishermen can enjoy wreck and reef diving in depths ranging from 15 to 150 feet.
In addition to the variety of species found in St. Lucie County (cobia, red drum, sailfish, dolphin, grouper, snapper, spiny lobster), the area features plenty of free and affordable boat ramps, fishing piers, marinas and charter fishing outlets, as well as 21 miles of coastline with nearly two dozen public access sites.
St. Lucie County is comprised of Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie and Hutchinson Island. For more information about St. Lucie County’s boater friendly and other accommodations visit www.visitstluciefla.com or call 800-344-8443.