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http://www.weartv.com/newsroom/top_s...id_24998.shtml

A new policy adopted by the U.S. Maritime Administration has terminated the Federal Artificial Reefing program. The program allowed old ships, like the Oriskany, to be sunk to create artificial reefs.

There are over 200 artificial reefs in Escambia County. Most are made from concrete or old bridges.

County officials say each reef plays a major role in revenue, bringing in around $90 million a year from people who want to dive or fish around the reefs. Some local boat captains are displeased by the new policy stopping the sinking of old ships.

A study from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission found toxic substance like PCB's have migrated into the marine food chain from sunken aircraft carriers such as the Oriskany.

"The PCB's did as the models predicated right after the ship was sunk. The PCB levels increased in the fish and then went back down and just followed the model curves pretty remarkably," said Robert Turpin, Escambia County Marine Resource division.

Many boat captains who run diving or fishing trips to the Oriskany disagree with the findings.

"One person spilling a little fuel out on a dock would do more environmental damage than the Oriskany will do in dozens of years. It's just insanity," said Dale Perkins, local boat captain.

The new policy would eliminate sinking old ships to build artificial reefs.

"Government regulation or over regulation is just strangling the economic life out of this area."

Perkins says the reefs are very crucial to the marine environment and play a major role in the local economy. He says thousands of dive enthusiast and fisherman flock to the Panhandle each year to visit the reefs.

"It's like a habitat, it's like growing corn. If you put a rock pile down you'll grow oysters on it. It will grow small sea life and develop larger sea life as a home it's just like farming almost."

Perkins fear is by not ever creating any new artificial reefs could affect the local economy.

"It's about the money. If you follow the money, you'll find someone is benefiting economically and that's what it's all about," said Perkins.

The old ships will now be recycled instead for scrap metal.


http://forums.floridasportsman.com/report.php?p=920286

 

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Not surprising

Amazing we had a oil rig explode and there was little to no environmental impact to the region but an old rusty ship is going to ruin the GOM
 
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