Marine Fisheries Artificial Reef Program to hold public meeting on New Hanover County reef sites
MOREHEAD CITY – The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ Artificial Reef Program will hold a public meeting at 6 p.m. May 29 at the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Wilmington Regional Office, 127 Cardinal Drive Extension, Wilmington.
The purpose of the meeting is to discuss expansion and enhancement operations for four artificial reefs off New Hanover County: Artificial Reefs 364 (Billy Murrell Reef), 370 (Meares Harris Reef), 372 (Bruce Barclay Cameron Reef), 378 and 378B (Phillip Wolfe Reef Complex). The Onslow Bay Artificial Reef Association secured a $637,500 Coastal Recreational Fishing License grant and private funding to work with the Artificial Reef Program to deploy new concrete material on these sites.
In addition, the Artificial Reef Program plans to expand the permitted reef site for AR-370 from the existing 120 acres to 600 acres and for AR-378 from 120 acres to 385. In both cases, the expanded areas correct long-time discrepancies between the permitted areas and the actual existing reef sites.
The program also plans to apply for environmental permits to formally establish an area of 73 acres for AR-378B, which has long existed without a permit, and is not depicted on navigational charts. The reef consists of three barges and scattered automobile tires and was likely originally meant to be part of AR-378. No enhancement of AR-378B is scheduled.
AR-364 and AR-372 do not need expansion since all the previously deployed material is within the permitted sites and can accommodate additional material without expansion.
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