A marine conservation group plans to sink three tugboats off the South Carolina coast to create new reefs for fish.
The Coastal Conservation Association said it will partner with the state Department of Natural Resources to scuttle the vessels in at least 100 feet of water of the coasts of Georgetown, Charleston and Port Royal in the hopes of growing fisheries in deepwater terrain.
“It’s a huge investment and it’s a huge benefit to South Carolina’s marine resources and our recreational fishing community,” the group’s South Carolina director Scott Whitaker said. He said threatened species such as grouper and red snapper could benefit from the artificial reef.
He said the group has removed fuel and other potentially harmful chemicals from the boats and hope to sink them later this spring.
CCA and DNR have sunk vessels in the past, but this will be the deepest reef they have created. Whitaker hoped it would create appealing habitats for larger species. “Any time that you put some kind of a rise or structure out there, it almost instantly gets attention from fish,” he said.
He said it would also create a new tourism opportunity for divers or charter fishing vessels.