the Outer Banks’ disproportionately large contribution in fishing
license fees, the region has been shorted its share of artificial
fishing reefs compared with the rest of the North Carolina coast.
the Outer Banks Anglers Club is looking forward to approval within
months of a permit that will allow construction of a new recreational
fishing reef in Oregon Inlet – a welcomed benefit of their license fees.
a lot of these projects are driven by an advocacy group,” Jason Peters,
NC Marine Fisheries enhancement program supervisor, explained Monday at
an Anglers Club meeting in Kitty Hawk. “Historically, we haven’t had
the advocacy up here.”
three years after the 115-member nonprofit group first formed the
Oregon Inlet Artificial Reef Committee to apply for funds from the
state Division of Marine Fisheries, it has a $887,000 grant in hand for
a proposed two-year project to construct a reef south of the Oregon
Inlet sea buoy.
captains will probably benefit from this resource more than anyone
else,” Richard Parker, chairman of the reef committee, said to charter
boat captains in the packed meeting room at the Hilton Garden Inn.
“It’s a tremendous asset.”
artificial reef, known as AR-165, is planned to be built from a
combination of a sunken large vessel and reinforced concrete
pipes. Paid for by the NC Coastal Recreational Fishing License
Grants Program, in addition to $20,000 in matching funds donated by
TW’s Bait & Tackle, Manteo Marine and Southern Bank, the reef will
be located within state waters eight miles south of Oregon Inlet.
president Alan Buchfuhrer said that Dare County anglers pay the second
highest amount of recreational fishing license fees in the state, about
$1 million annually, behind Wake County, and it sells twice as many
licenses as the second coastal county, Carteret.
said that somehow the availability of CRFL grants was missed on the
Outer Banks, but as soon as he read about them a few years ago, he
pulled the committee together.
“I retired and I had more time on my hands,” he said after the meeting.
a total of 68 artificial reefs along the North Carolina coast, 43 are
in ocean and 25 are in the estuary, said Jordan Byrum, artificial reef
coordinator. A NC Marine Fisheries Reef Guide map that illustrates
locations of reefs and oyster sanctuaries in five regions – Estuarine,
Outer Banks, Raleigh Bay, Onslow Bay and Long Bay – shows the highest
numbers of reefs in the Onslow region.
an area is identified as a potential reef site, he said, determination
is made whether it is suitable, and if so, the permitting process –
which involves about 13 different agencies – is started.
required Coastal Area Management Agency major permit has been approved
for AR-165. After a second permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers
is issued, which could take six months or more, the project can start.
his presentation, Byrum explained that reefs enhance recreational
fishing and diving – the program’s objective – by providing a safe
place for oyster and fish larvae to grow, and for larger fish to find
10-year-old program designates $500,000 a year to a region on a
rotating basis. Next up on the list for reef funding is Ocracoke, he
we don’t build new reef sites unless there is a specified need,” Byrum
said. “You’re underserved here. AR-165 made sense.”
the Outer Banks has been late in getting in the reef rotation, Byrum
said, it is also getting a bonus no other area is receiving.
the old Bonner Bridge is demolished next year, about 80 tons of
material will be deposited by the contractor at each of four
deteriorated reefs located between 2.5 miles and 4 miles off the
beach. Marked AR-130, -140 and -145, located northeast of the
inlet, will each receive 15 percent of the debris, and AR-160, south of
the inlet in state waters, will receive 55 percent.
since the bridge contractor is responsible to get rid of the demolition
debris, they’re more than happy to dispose of the material for free at
guys are getting the most money for AR 165, and you’re getting the
bridge material,” Byrum said. “These reefs are going to be chock-full.”
to the Anglers Club, construction of AR-165 will involve sinking a
100-foot to 140-foot ship and dumping a total of 80,000 tons of assorted
concrete pipe from barges over two years.
the underwater structures are in place, fish waste no time making use
of them, Peters said. Whether they’re attracted by sounds, movement or
smell, they’ll often show up within hours, even minutes.
“We’re expecting that there will be a much more enhanced area for people to fish,” he said.