Japanese Artificial Reefs for Fishery Enhancement and Mitigation

Project Overview

Aquabio introduced Japanese artificial reefs in the United States in the 1980s.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the State of Florida Department of Natural Resources wanted to evaluate the effectiveness of Japanese artificial reef technology for recreational fisheries enhancement and mitigation in the U.S.

Aquabio's Role

Aquabio's role in introducing Japanese reef technology spanned technology assessment and transfer, design and configuration services, project management for deployment, and research/assessment.
  • Met with Florida sport fishing organizations and State fisheries managers to understand their requirements for artificial reefs, recreational fishery enhancement, and mitigation for loss of fisheries due to development
  • Aquabio translated Japanese artificial reef research documents, assessed artifical reef technology available in Japan, and selected fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) artificial reef units manufactured by Asahi Chemical International of Japan for installation and evaluation in U.S.
  • Worked with Asahi engineers to design and configure artificial reefs for use by recreational fishermen at three sites off Florida’s Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts
  • Aquabio provided project management of technology transfer from Japan, artificial reef construction, reef siting, artificial reef unit placement, and reef monitoring
  • Aquabio managed the cooperative effort between U.S. federal and Florida state resource agencies, local non-government organizations (NGOs), Japanese companies, and local university research centers in Florida
  • Aquabio conducted a 5-year study to monitor performance and evaluate results
  • Aquabio made recommendations about feasibility of adapting Japanese reef technology for recreational fisheries enhancement and mitigation in U.S.


  • Based on the success of the initial demonstration, additional Japanese artificial reef units were deployed on the East and West Coasts of the U.S.
  • Other designed artificial reef units have subsequently been developed by U.S. companies based on the successful performance of the first designed reef units from Japan


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