Sealife flourishing on concrete reefs

A A A

An experiment to make "fish ranches" off the west of Scotland by building artificial reefs out of concrete has been an outstanding success.

An experiment to make "fish ranches" off the west of Scotland by building artificial reefs out of concrete has been an outstanding success.

Scientists who built 12 reefs in an area not previously been used for fishing at the Lynn of Lorn, near the island of Lismore, said they were teeming with fish and shellfish.

The Scottish Association for Marine Science, in Oban, began the experiment a year ago in an attempt to discover whether large-scale reefs would be viable for commercial fishing. Since then, 600 tons of concrete blocks have been sunk to the seabed.

Martin Sayer, who is directing the project, said there were early indications that the project had encouraged sealife to shelter and breed in the blocks. Even if large-scale fishing was not profitable enough, Dr Sayer suggested, the reefs could provide a useful business.

"With lobster for example, it does not require a large number of animals to be caught to sustain a small fishery. It is possible that if you optimise the catch, quite a few fishing jobs could be supported," he said.

"There are already actually large numbers of juvenile cod and other cod species. They will only stay there the first year of their life but they will have a chance to grow before they move away to other areas. Initial results show there are very positive results just from visual records alone."

In two years, the group plans to have a million blocks of concrete, donated by a local firm, sunk to the bottom of the sea. They could give coastal communities the chance to offer an alternative livelihood to fishermen hit by recent European Union cuts in quotas of cod and other fish.

Dr Sayer said: "Reefs such as this are very widespread in places like the United States, Australia and Japan but they have never been attempted on this scale before. The overall objective is to see whether these reefs on a large scale will make any impact as a commercial fishery or if they could act as providers for commercial fisheries."

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

£30 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software / Web Developer (PHP / MYSQL) i...

Guru Careers: Account Executive

£18 - 20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Executive is needed to join one...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Software Engineer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Software Engineer i...

Reach Volunteering: Volunteer Trustee with Healthcare expertise

Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses are reimbursable: Reach Volunteering...

Day In a Page

Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

Hipsters of Arabia

Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

The cult of Roger Federer

What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?
Kuala Lumpur's street food: Not a 'scene', more a way of life

Malaysian munchies

With new flights, the amazing street food of Kuala Lumpur just got more accessible
10 best festival beauty

Mud guards: 10 best festival beauty

Whether you're off to the Isle of Wight, Glastonbury or a local music event, we've found the products to help you
Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe

A Different League

Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe, says Pete Jenson
Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey - Steve Bunce

Steve Bunce on Boxing

Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf