Artificial Reefs

  • A community based Artificial Reef (AR) programme was initiated in the Tuticorin coastal area, by the Suganthi Devadason Marine Research Institute (SDMRI), Tuticorin in collaboration with the Coastal Zone Management Center in The Netherlands within the Indian – Netherlands, Water and Coastal Management Co-operative Program by CZMC / RIKZ, The Netherlands to study efficiency of artificial reefs in enhancing the lost fishery. The AR programme was started in 2002; the funding finished in 2003, but SDMRI continues the monitoring.
  • The effects of the AR on fishery production in the area are clear and undeniable: landings of fin and shellfishes in the target villages have gradually increased. The fishermen and their families in the target villages were informed about species diversity and density in the AR stations through the awareness programmes. They are much impressed with the fishery production in the AR area. One target village, Vellapatti has started using a modified gill net in addition to their routine crab nets and fish around the AR areas. Their catches mainly contain emperor breams (Lethrinus sp.) and rabbit fish (Siganus sp.), which are dominant in the AR areas. The target villagers have requested to deploy more ARs around the Islands of Tuticorin region to increase the fishery production so as to obtain more catches easily and also to avoid inshore trawling.
  • Coral rehabilitation is successful only if native healthy coral colonies are available. Different species of native corals need to be rehabiliated to facilitate heterogenity in the site. Coral rehabilitation using fragments from other environmentally different location will not be successful.
  • It was observed that the modules serve as suitable substrates for new coral recruits. Due to regular coral mining and destructive fishing activities in the Tuticorin coast in the last 4-5 decades, there was instability in the natural substrates near the reef areas and so coral recruitment was very poor. The AR modules served as good stable substrate to mainly massive coral recruits. Coral mining in Gulf of Mannar was completely halted since 2005, resulting lesser disturbances to substrate for the newly settling coral larvae in the natural substrates.
  • The results of the above AR study upto 2008 is available in “Climate of Coastal Cooperation”, Robbert Misdorp (editor), published by the Coastal and Marine Union- EUCC, Leiden, the Netherlands:
  • Patterson Edward, J.K. & Rob. J. Leewis, 2011: Artificial Reefs – Increasing biodiversity and long term coastal fisheries in the Tutticorin region, Tamil Nadu, India; in “Climate of Coastal Cooperation”, Robbert Misdorp (editor), published by the Coastal and Marine Union- EUCC, Leiden, the Netherlands: