NSS: Coppage Tugboat and Concrete Reefs

6-26-10
Another great day to be underwater!

 TISIRI and the Jacksonville Reef Research team performed two artificial reef survey dives this past weekend.  Both artificial reef sites were located in the NSS, “North Sixteen Seventeen,” area offshore Jacksonville Florida.  Divers aboard Captain Park’s, Native Diver II, included:  Joe Kistel of TISIRI and Sue Wilcox, Phil Harville, Jim Davis, Bill Lindholm, Mason Cooper, and Luke Lawley of the Jacksonville Reef Research Team. 

 The first artificial reef site visited was a tug boat that was place in 1989 called the Coppage.  This Jacksonville Reef is over 20 years mature and proves to be a diverse ecosystem.  Divers objectives were to document marine species present and record the quantities observed.  Kistel also photographed the reef structure and overall dive.  Divers reported seeing a large variety of marine life some of which included:

               Snapper: a couple varieties
               Grouper; Gag
               Tomtates
               Amberjack
               Blennies
               Toadfish
               Sea Turtle:  reported by Lawley
               Shark:  reported by Lawley/Davis to be 5' long

The second Jacksonville artificial reef site dove was a nearby concrete reef.  This reef is also over 20 years old and proved to be productive habitat.  Divers objectives were again to record species present while Kistel filmed the artificial reef site.  Divers reported again seeing a diversity of life such as:

                Triggerfish
                File Fish
                Nurse shark:  5 feet
                Snapper: Vermillion
                Juvenile high-hat and cardinal fish
                Amberjack
                Cobia:  reported by Cooper and Wilcox
                Sting Ray
                Queen Angelfish
                Turtle:   reported by Lindholm

Both dives were eventful and demonstrate that artificial reefs support a variety and quantity of marine life.  Conditions on both dives were similar with the water very clear and warm at the surface (79F) with visibility and temperature dropping near the sea floor (70F).  Seafloor visibility was estimated to be roughly 20-25ft at each location.  Conditions were ideal to observe the success of two Florida artificial reefs!  Check out the related video and pictures from the dives above.

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