Ocean Habitats creating mini reefs to help Southwest Florida waterways

Published: December 29, 2021 5:15 PM EST
Updated: December 29, 2021 5:31 PM EST

A company is helping sea creatures find a home while cleaning up Southwest Florida’s waterways.

On Wednesday, the company, Ocean Habitats, was hard at work installing “mini reefs.”

One of the installations happened at Bob Carlson’s home on Marco Island. The mini reef is designed to attract crabs, fish and sea squirts while also filtering thousands of gallons of water a day.

Trading the cold for a slice of paradise, Carlson hopes for more opportunities to fish especially from his dock.

The only problem? Not a lot of fish.

He hopes to change that soon.

“Ocean Habitats taught us that by putting a floating reef under our dock it’s going to bring the smaller fish, it’s going to bring the shrimp, it’s going to bring all the other smaller species to our dock,” Carlson said. “I see this just taking off down here and Marco, because everyone that lives on Marco, that I know of at least, loves to fish and wants to be on the water.”

Which is why Carlson wants these reefs under his dock and why Ocean Habitats installed polypropylene mini reefs under there. The plastic is the type is used in other marine environments.

“We want to be able to fish off our dock. We want our grandkids and our kids to be, to have an activity in our backyard,” Carlson said.

David Wolff helps make it possible.

“Our estimate from the research that we did, it filters, on average about 30,000 gallons. The low end is about 15, 16,000. The high ends about 100,000,” said Wolff, president and executive director of Ocean Habitats. 

The company also performs maintenance on the mini reefs.

Carlson sees it as a win-win.

“I thought I was just coming for the fish but now we’re reaching a purpose of we’re going to clean our canals,” Carlson said.