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Tampa Bay Artificial Reefs
Overview
The Artificial Reef Program is administered by the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County and was started October 23, 1986. The goal of the Artificial Reef Program is to increase hard-bottom habitat availability in Tampa Bay that, in turn, will encourage biological diversity and productivity by providing hard-bottom substrates and communities that might not otherwise be available. The reefs also provide additional recreational opportunities for the public in the bay area. 

Map
Zoom into the map below to see deployment locations and corner points. Pop ups show the types of materials at each location.


To view the full screen map click HERE

The staff of the Artificial Reef Program frequently speak to fishing clubs, schools, and many other civic groups in the Tampa Bay area. To request a speaker use the Speaker Request Form.


Check out our channel on YouTube for more reef videos. http://www.youtube.com/user/TBArtReefs
 

Artificial Reef Monitoring
EPC collects data on the reefs to monitor the function of the reefs and for use as a health indicator for the Bay. We use a variety of methods including video, photographs, visual surveys, and side scan sonar. All of our efforts however are not enough to determine the best course of action that is in the best interest of the public without their input. Because of the need for more specific data EPC is working on a new Community Monitoring Program that will allow recreational divers and citizens to help monitor the reefs. 
  • Divers are encouraged to use the Cousteau Diver forms to report information that they see while diving in Tampa Bay. 
    Cousteau   - Cousteau Divers
  • The Artificial Reef Program is interested in your catch! Catch information can be reported to EPC from any computer or mobile device. You can upload your own photos and see what others are catching on the reefs! This reporting will be optionally anonymous, and allow us to use the information that you report to better monitor the Bay for changes, evaluate the functional level of the reefs, and make sound management decisions. Your personal information will not be shared in any way.
    Report Your Catch   - Report Your Catch

Annual Great Goliath Grouper Count

Goliath Grouper, the largest member of the grouper family, area  protected species in Florida, http://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/goliath-grouper/. The Great Goliath Grouper Count (GGGC) offers scientists an annual snapshot of the distribution of the protected species around the Florida coast, with a focus on southwest Florida. Since 2010, Florida Sea Grant in cooperation with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute has utilized volunteers during a one-week period, the beginning of June, to assess Goliath Grouper presence on artificial reefs (their preferred habitat) at varying depths on the southwest coast of Florida, from Pinellas to Collier Counties. Over the years, additional sites have been included in Taylor and Monroe counties, as well as off the Atlantic coast. While the GGGC is not a substitute for a stock assessment, it provides additional information to help researchers detail the biology and ecology of these “Goliath” fish. 

Funding
The Artificial Reef Program is funded by the Environmental Protection Commission’s Pollution Recovery Fund. This fund was established to specifically address environmental cleanup and restoration in Hillsborough County.

Additional funds have been provided by the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Program and by saltwater fishing license funds administered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Division of Marine Fisheries.

The program also relies on generous donations of materials, as well as construction and transportation services, from local marine construction contractors.  

Hard Bottom Habitat
EPC works with partnering agencies like Tampa Bay Watch, Southwest Florida Water Management District, and the Tampa Bay Estuary Program to work on restoration and mitigation of other hard bottom habitat such as oysterbars and limestone outcroppings.


Reef Listing and Maps

Program Resources