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Pink Shell Resort to install more artificial reefs

By Staff | Oct 2, 2019

The Pink Shell Resort made a pledge to put in more of Ocean Habitats artificial reefs on their pier. JORDAN HESTER

The Pink Shell Resort made a pledge to put in more of Ocean Habitats artificial reefs on their pier.

These habitats vary in size, but are about the size of a small dresser – about 24 inches wide and deep, 36 inches long. Constructed with the intent to anchor them below a deck, they’re used to bring sea life growth back to the areas close to shoreline.

“They promote aquatic wildlife and positive aquatic plant life growth. Primarily bivalves and crabs, but they offer a lot of cover to creatures that may not be able to survive on seawalls or need camouflage to survive, like smaller fish, which improves the overall variety of life, since we have a bit of a broken aquatic food chain in southwest Florida,” said David Wolff, president and executive director of Ocean Habitats.

The pledge from Pink Shell’s 30 installations brings the total number of installations to 3,000 in the state of Florida. Marco Island and Cape Coral, locally, are also big locations for these installs.

“Attracting oysters and clams and the smaller marine life is important to the overall health of the water. Adult oysters can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day, per oyster. It also infuses the water with more oxygen, which can bring more species closer to the shore,” David O’Connor, Pink Shell’s Marina manager, said.

David Wolff, president of Ocean Habitats, preparing the units for installation at the Pink Shell Resort. JORDAN HESTER

Most of the units have very extensive lasting power, Wolff said most of the ones he installed in the late ’90s were still intact last year. There are exceptions; some of the youngest replacements were only 6-8 years old, though they tend to be damaged in very rarely occurring situations: Category 3 hurricanes, boat accidents and the like.

“It’s almost non-existent that these installations ever get in the way of your dock’s uses. But the amount of wildlife it brings back over 3-4 years is statistically important,” Wolff said.

The website boasts some impressive claims: fostering 300 fish a year, around 200 crabs and, at full population of bivalves, can clean up to 30,000 gallons of water a day just with them creating a habitat on one of the neat .devices.

The installation is done by hand, usually by Wolff and his small team, but are done in batches. The price may go up in the future, but purchasing one now locks that in.

“It’s hard to drive cross state to install one or two, especially given how cheap they are currently, so we try to do them two or three times a month in batches to ensure we get out as many per trip as possible,” Wolff said.

David Wolff and David Wolff Jr. installing habitats under the Pink Shell’s marina. JORDAN HESTER