Katrina Key, a fishing reef created after Hurricane Katrina, has been extended by several hundred yards by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources' Artificial Reef Bureau.

The agency said 500 to 600 yards has been added to the key, on which construction began in 2007 from the remains of the old Biloxi/Ocean Springs Highway 90 bridge.

"This past spring we had reports of really nice speckled trout being caught along the reef," said Kerwin Cuevas, MDMR's Artificial Reef Bureau director. "There were a few 6-pounders and several 4- to 5-pounders caught, as well as white trout, ground mullet, red fish and Spanish mackerel."

The westward extension was divided in two segments designed to allow current flow and increase foraging opportunities for fish, the MDMR said.

Katrina Key is one of several well-known artificial reefs and keys in the Mississippi Sound that was created by the MDMR's Artificial Reef Bureau. It is located just south of Deer Island and serves to reduce shoreline erosion on the south side of Deer Island in addition to providing fish habitat.

Katrina Key is also uniquely positioned to provide fishermen calmer waters and allow them to fish in adverse weather conditions.

In addition to these benefits, Katrina Key also provides a very unique vertical habitat throughout the water column for several important marine finfish species.

The newly complete extension of the key came from the old Highway 90 Back Bay fishing bridge and old Back Bay Bridge in D'Iberville.

Cultch materials limestone and oyster shells have also been deployed on the north and south side of the key to enhance habitat.

As material and funds become available, the MDMR's Artificial Reef Bureau, in conjunction with Mississippi Gulf Fishing Banks, will continue placing additional material on the western side of the key while maintaining gaps for current flow. Cultch material planting sites on both the north and south sides of the key will also be expanded.

Katrina Key is one of 67 nearshore reefs spread along Hancock, Harrison and Jackson county shorelines.

Click here for more information, including maps and GPS coordinates, on artificial reefs.