The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced today that the creation of the Lake Borgne Shell Pad, Grand Banks, West Karako Bay and Cabbage Reef artificial reef sites has begun. The reefs will eventually boost the availability of fish by increasing hard-bottom habitat in an otherwise soft muddy water bottom, allowing more opportunity for larval settlement and biological benefits in the area.
“LDWF will continue to develop reefs that enhance fish habitat while providing excellent recreational fishing opportunity for our inshore anglers,” said LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet. “We would like to thank our partners at the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation for their efforts on this project as well.”
The newly constructed artificial reef sites will be created from 880 tons of limestone, 130 reef balls (perforated concrete domes) and over 80 cubic yards of oyster shells. These sites will be deployed across a broad range of salinities, which are within the optimum range for popular recreational saltwater species like speckled trout, redfish, and flounder.
Protected from oyster harvest
The four newly constructed reefs, presented to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission on Nov. 7, were also restricted from oyster harvest. Protecting the sites from harvest allows them to serve as a source of oyster broodstock and continue to assist the nearby oyster population for the future. All current inshore artificial reef sites are protected from oyster harvest.
These reefs are being built through a partnership involving the LDWF and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.
“The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation is thrilled to partner with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries on the artificial reef program, which will provide a more productive fish habitat while enhancing recreational fishing in Lake Borgne and the Mississippi Sound,” said Kristi Trail, executive director of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. “The reefs will disrupt currents in these waterways and provide critical hard structure, allowing better habitat for bottom-dwelling organisms. These invertebrates form the base of the food web and support larger species, including sport fish.”
All four reefs are marked with a large yellow-lighted buoy. Coordinates are as follows:
- Lake Borgne Reef: 30° 04’ 17.004”, 89° 35’ 06.396”
- Grand Banks Reef: 30° 08’ 50.064”, 89° 22’ 51.708”
- Cabbage Reef: 30° 07’ 59.4120”, 89° 14’ 49.524”
- West Karako Reef: 30° 01’ 00.012”, 89° 16’ 29.064”
The nearest launch location is Rigolets Marina in Slidell. For more information, including additional reef locations and maps, please visit the Louisiana Artificial Reef Program site at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/artificial-reef-program.