All the way from New Jersey to Georgia fish are making new homes in subway cars, armored tanks, naval ships, and tugboats. These massive steel units were strategically dumped in the ocean to serve as artificial reefs.
In the mid-Atlantic region, there is very little exposed rock. The subway cars are acting as a hard surface or "artificial exposed rock" which is attractive to various oysters, mussels, and food sources vital to local fish populations. These artificial reefs become beacons of marine life.
Hard pressed to boost local fish populations, state agencies in New Jersey turned to artificial reefs for help. Such programs are well supported by the fishing community. But before sinking the rail cars, potentially dangerous materials like oily undercarriages, doors, windows, and interiors were removed. What remained are 20,000-pound boxes with good water circulation and lots of nooks and crannies for fish. The dismantled cars are dumped from barges, where they sink to the ocean floor.
The National Geographic Society says that between 2002 and 2003, a total of 1,269 of the cars were reefed in five states: New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia. The agency that deploys these artificial reefs is currently considering whether to release an additional 2,600 cars over the next ten years, starting in 2007. A final decision is expected with a few months.
Should we be deploying subway cars to the bottom of the
ocean? We'd like to know your opinions on it.