August 24, 2016

New state Artificial Reef Guide, interactive
website ready for fishermen to use

Sunken vessels, aircraft, train boxcars and old bridges are all underwater treasures located along North Carolina’s coast, strategically situated to promote fishing opportunities. Now, the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries Artificial Reef Guide will show you where to find them.

This new 131-page, full-color guide is printed on waterproof paper and provides detailed information about each of the state’s 62 reefs, including diagrams of each site showing all reef material, GPS coordinates, and material deployment dates.

The guides are available for free on a first-come, first-serve basis at the Division of Marine Fisheries’ Headquarters in Morehead City and at other division offices in Wilmington, Washington, Elizabeth City and Manteo. Individuals may pick a book up in-person between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (excluding holidays). The division will limit distribution of the guide to one book per person.

As a supplement to the paper guide, the division has posted an online interactive reef guide at This web application offers all the features of the paper guide, with the addition of side-scan sonar imagery, which creates a picture of the ocean floor, for each reef. The web guide also includes mapping tools for measuring distance, searching and custom printing.

Artificial reefs are manmade underwater structures built to promote marine life in areas with otherwise featureless bottom. North Carolina builds reefs to support healthy fish populations, create accessible fishing and diving opportunities, and in some places, restore degraded habitat for oysters.

The reef guide and web application were funded by a $176,000 award from the North Carolina Coastal Recreational Fishing License Grant Program.

For more information, contact Amy Comer, biologist with the division’s Artificial Reef Program, at 252-808-8054 or [email protected].

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