Efforts underway to restore South Padre Island reef
New efforts to restore the reef in South Padre Island are underway.
On Tuesday, Friends of the RGV Reef, a non-profit organization dedicated to building and restoring fish habitat in the Gulf of Mexico, sunk three old boats to add to the 1,650-acre artificial reef off the Texas coast.
But the work to prepare the boats used for the reef starts months before sinking, says volunteer captain Daniel Bryant.
The reef adds more than just a home of Gulf species; with a short federal fishing season, it gives visitors and locals a place to fish outside of that small window.
More importantly, Bryant says it’s good for the local economy.
“At this point, we can go into any restaurant on South Padre Island, and they know about the reef,” Bryant said. “Because they’re cooking the catch coming from the reef.”
A 2016 student commissioned by the island found the reef has a significant impact on the local economy, contributing to hundreds of jobs and over $63 million locally and statewide.
“Families need income, and charter boats are making it happen,” Bryant said. “Some of these people are buying boats and going into the charter business and supporting their families. So that’s pretty rewarding.”
The three ships Friends of the RGV Reef added to the habitat Tuesday brings the total to seven ships sunk since 2017.
For more information about the nonprofit's efforts, visit RGVReef.org.
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