New Artificial Reef in Harwich Thriving

COURTESY OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF MARINE FISHERIES

COURTESY OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF MARINE FISHERIES

HARWICHPORT – The artificial reef built about three miles off Saquatucket Harbor is already teaming with marine life just months after it was installed in March.

The reef, which was built from debris mostly comprised of the demolished Harwich High School, began seeing fish colonization after the first month according to Harwich Conservation Administrator Amy Usowski.

“This summer we had a lot of fishermen reporting getting black sea bass, tautog and other species out of the water there,” Usowski said.

The Division of Marine Fisheries has monitored the reef since it was installed and have posted video taken by divers to document the increase in marine life.

The most recent video, which can be seen below, was posted on November 3 and shows schools of several fish species inhabiting the reef.

The goal of the project was to bring more fish and marine life to that area of Nantucket Sound which is mostly barren from structures.

“We knew it would be good. We didn’t know it would be this good,” Usowski said. “We’re really anxious to keep going with this and we are already starting to try to find additional materials hopefully for the next deployment in the next year or two.”

The town of Falmouth is donating an old dam that was recently taken down. The materials will be delivered next week and will be stored near the Harwich Transfer Station.

“Over the next year or two I’m going to be reaching out to other towns seeing if they have materials that would be suitable and if we could perhaps acquire them for the next time,” Usowski said.

The artificial reef can cover just under an acre of a 10 acre site in the sound. Usowski said they have only filled about 25 percent of the one acre that is permitted.

Usowski said a tire reef built off the coast of Yarmouth earlier has seen between 30 to 40 different fish species.

“We are expecting the same thing, the same success for the town of Harwich,” she said.

The artificial reef is restricted to recreational fishing only.

The Division of Marine Fisheries used money from the state’s Saltwater Recreation Angler’s License funds to pay for the project.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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