Mississippi’s artificial reef program grew in February, when 207.4 short tons of culverts were deployed at four sites on the Cat Island Reef, thanks to the Building Conservation Trust (BCT) and the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA).

Cat Island Reef is located just off the southeast corner of the island in roughly 15 feet of water. It is historically known to be productive for speckled trout, redfish, associated ground fish and the occasional cobia.

“It’s wonderful to see BCT and CCA Mississippi working together in a partnership to enhance marine habitat along the Mississippi coastline,” said Jack McCarty, member of the BCT board of directors. “This is a wonderful partnership, and I look forward to watching it continue to grow and expand the great work being done in our waters.” 

J. E. Borries Marine Construction Company handled the deployment using the on-board excavator to push the culverts into the water in a circular pattern at four different locations. Once the specific sites are validated, the MDMR website that lists coordinates for artificial reefs will provide this information as CCA 1, 2, 3 and 4.

“In addition to our partnership with BCT, CCA Mississippi is grateful for this new and already promising partnership with MDMR,” said F.J. Eicke, CCA Mississippi chairman. “We anticipate that this is the first of many partnered projects with them in our journey to enhance habitat and angling opportunities in Mississippi waters.”

Eicke said the work would not be possible without the help and guidance of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and its Artificial Reef Program.

“MDMR’s Artificial Reef program has grown in the past 10 years, and the addition of the Cat Island Reef enhances fishing opportunities for residents and tourists,” said Jamie M. Miller, executive director of MDMR. “Our partnership with CCA made this possible, and we look forward to more projects in the future.”

“These reefs benefit the environment, as well as the fishermen,” said James Sanders, artificial reef bureau director at MDMR. “We are proud to work with local groups such as CCA Mississippi and BCT to create more habitat in our waters.”

BCT and CCA Mississippi invested a total of $25,000 in the Cat Island Reef project. These culverts on the bottom of the Mississippi Sound will produce and attract more fish for Mississippi’s recreational anglers to enjoy.