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May 1, 2017

The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries Artificial Reef Guides still available




The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries maintains 42 ocean artificial reefs and 20 estuarine reefs, 14 of which serve as oyster sanctuaries. Ocean reefs are located from ½ mile to 38 miles from shore and are situated so that they can be reached from every maintained inlet in the state. The estuarine sites are found in Pamlico Sound and its tributaries, the Chowan River and the New River. Estuarine reefs are designated with yellow class four or five buoys noting the reef site, a N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries sign, and a phone number. Oyster Sanctuaries are designated with white, class-four buoys or three-pile dolphin markers that identify the site as an oyster sanctuary.

MOREHEAD CITY – Anglers who fish on North Carolina’s artificial reefs can still get the new North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries Artificial Reef Guide, published this past August.

Artificial reef guides are still available for free on a first-come, first-serve basis at the Division of Marine Fisheries’ Headquarters in Morehead City and at other division offices in Wilmington, Washington, Elizabeth City and Manteo (find addresses and phone numbers for these offices here).

Individuals may pick a book up in-person between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday a.m. 
(excluding holidays). The division limits distribution of the guide to one book per person.

The 131-page, full-color guide is printed on waterproof paper and provides detailed information about each of the state’s 62 reefs. It includes diagrams of each site showing all reef material, GPS coordinates and material deployment dates.

As a supplement to the paper guide, the division has posted an online interactive reef guide here. This web application offers all the features of the paper guide, with the addition of side-scan sonar imagery, which creates a picture of the ocean floor, for each reef. The web guide also includes mapping tools for measuring distance, searching and custom printing.

Artificial reefs are manmade underwater structures, built to promote marine life in areas with otherwise featureless bottom. North Carolina builds reefs to support healthy fish populations, create accessible fishing and diving opportunities, and in some places, restore degraded habitat for oysters.

The reef guide and web application were funded by a $176,000 award from the North Carolina Coastal Recreational Fishing License Grant Program.

For more information, contact Amy Comer, with the division’s Artificial Reef Program, at 252-808-8054 orAmy.Comer@ncdenr.gov.

Download a photo of the reef guide here.


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