Wildlife in the sea need to have reefs in order to thrive. Many of the natural reefs that have been called home for many generations are starting to disappear. When there are reefs in place, then ocean environments thrive. When there are no reefs in place, then the ocean biome will eventually fail because the chain of life begins right there. By creating artificial reefs, we can extend the life of the ocean. It’s a practice that was started in the 17th century and continues on today.
What Are the Pros of Artificial Reefs?
1. It encourages higher levels of bio-diversity.
A reef in the ocean has just as much bio-diversity as a tropical rainforest. Just like the rainforests, much of the life in a natural reef has yet to be studied. By creating artificial reefs, we can take control of the natural features of the oceans to learn more about the creatures that call this area their home.
2. They are resistant to erosion.
Many of the artificial reefs that have been developed over the years are from recycled ships, train cars, and other man-made items that have simply worn out their usefulness on land. By sinking them into the ocean, they do more than just become part of a landfill. They can become the home for new sea life.
3. It creates a beautiful place to visit.
Reefs are the foundation for a healthy ocean. When they are in place, ocean life begins to rebuild and it does not take long for an artificial reef to start teeming with life. They also create beautiful locations for scuba diving and snorkeling, which can help with the economics of a coastal region.
What Are the Cons of Artificial Reefs?
1. Many of the artificial reefs that have been used could be toxic.
Even metal that is resistant to corrosion will eventually pit and corrode in the hostile sea water environment of the ocean. As these metals begin to rust and degrade, they can release toxins into the water that were placed there during the manufacturing process. These toxins could kill just as much sea life as the artificial reef is able to create.
2. It may promote irresponsible refuse management.
When there is a lot of junk that a country needs to get rid of for whatever reason, they can just dump it into the ocean and claim that they are working on the creation of a new artificial reef. In reality, they’re just using the ocean as a landfill because once it’s under the water, it can be forgotten about.
3. They may harm existing life.
Although artificial reefs encourage the development of sea life, they may actually harm the existing life that calls the area home. Large schools of fish tend to concentrate around these reefs and not only can that lead to increased traffic from commercial fishing, but it also means that certain regional species may end up becoming extinct.
There are some definite advantages to the creation of artificial reefs and many of the disadvantages can be controlled through the creation of corrosion free materials that are designed to work with the current environment. By weighing the pros and cons, every country and community can decide if the installation of an artificial reef is right for them.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.