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One of Reef Ball México's artificial reefs. One of Reef Ball México's artificial reefs.

Plans under way for artificial reef in Progreso, Yucatán

The reef would consist of 1,400 circular, concrete structures built by Reef Ball México

The popular port town of Progreso, Yucatán, has announced a marine project to draw more tourists.

Municipal tourism director Manuel Rosado unveiled a plan to install an artificial coral reef six kilometers offshore. He told the newspaper El Financiero that Progreso will officially present the project late this month or in early April.

“We are conducting environmental impact studies and planning the reef, for which we will need 5 million pesos (US $259,000), the amount required to fund this type of project.”

The reef will be made up of more than 1,400 circular structures designed by the Reef Ball Foundation. Reef Ball representative Javier Dajer said artificial reef structures are specially designed to promote marine plant growth and attract fish.

He explained that the structure’s circular design allows the sun’s rays to reach the reef at any angle, promoting photosynthesis. Additionally, the hollow interior pushes water out through the top with a whirlpool effect, generating sounds and movements attractive to marine wildlife. Dajer said the structures tend to become covered in coral within five years, fully blending into the ecosystem.

He added that the artificial reef structures are extremely durable, with an expected lifespan of 500 years. They are made entirely out of a special type of concrete that also contains additives to equalize pH levels with those of the seawater.

Dajer said the project is supported by diving schools and a local biologist.

“We are discussing implementing the project at three different depths with different focuses in mind: there will be a zone for snorkeling and swimming, a second zone for recreational fishing and boating, and a third zone for commercial fishing.”

Other artificial reefs have already been installed in Campeche, Quintana Roo, Colima, Baja California and Veracruz. To date, nearly 25,000 of the structures have been installed off the shores of Mexico.

Source: El Financiero (sp)

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