Fishing

‘Reef balls’ made to shore up sea walls in north Biscayne Bay

 

scocking@MiamiHerald.com

Lobster divers and snapper fishers will soon have a new, shallow-water honey hole in north Biscayne Bay just north of the Julia Tuttle Causeway.

About 1,800 artificial reef modules — hollow, round concrete structures with holes — are being lined up in three squares of about 600 each in a dense, mat formation 20-24 feet deep.

Steve Blair of the Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management’s restoration and enhancement section says the “reef balls” are being deployed as mitigation for a wharf and sea wall refurbishment at PortMiami.

Workers began constructing the reef balls in September, and the first load was put down in early October. The modules are about five feet in diameter, about four feet tall and sit on a 5 1/2-foot square base. They are going in the water at the rate of about 40 per day.

The project is expected to be completed in late January.

Depending on recruitment of marine life, lobster hunters might be able to bag some bugs before the harvest season closes March 31. Gray snapper and grunts likely will show up almost immediately.

Blair says waters are turbid in the area, but water quality is good because there is plenty of tidal flushing.

The center of the site is at GPS coordinates 25 degrees, 48.485 north; 80 degrees, 09.587 west.

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