Still photos run for 1 minute 49 seconds in the first section. The second portion of this 4 minute piece is the best video of our temperate reefs I'm aware of.
The stills show what was an amazing reef, a whip meadow, and is now an impacted bottom. You cannot believe how alive this reef was after a long period of very low trawl effort for fluke. When I first filmed it in 2004 the orange seawhip grew as grass in a field. One day a couple years later two party boats, a trap boat, & two private boats were fishing there for sea bass --catching too-- when an OC trawl skipper declared over the radio, "I've got a tow through there!"
Guess he did.
Haven't caught beans there since the whip got wiped out.
It has not grown back - yet. Starting to though.
Today's managers & restorationists remain skeptical of artificial reef's value. Many believe a newly sited reef only draws from existing natural reef.
Yet in my experience we have no reason to believe any such thing. Reef production is reef production. If a hurricane uncovers a quarter mile ledge of rock by sweeping the sand away; new production occurring swiftly on that newly exposed natural bottom is precisely as on an accidental reef, or artificial reef.
We'll one day be able to estimate a reef's fisheries value solely from its cubic measure.
Naturally deposited rock? Quarried rock accidentally spilled in transit? Or rock purposefully sited as artificial reef..
Corals & fish couldn't care less.