For immediate release
Contact: Government Relations Committee
P.O. Box 3916
Bay St. Louis, MS 39521
BILOXI, Mississippi – (Tuesday, March 7, 2017) –Friday, February 17 was the long-awaited deployment of 207.4 short tons of culverts at four sites on the Cat Island Reef. With funding from Building Conservation Trust (BCT), which is the national habitat program of Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), and CCA Mississippi, two boats from the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) were on-site to witness and record the deployment.
Cat Island Reef is located just off the southeast corner of the island in roughly 15 feet of water. It is known as a productive site, where fish like speckled trout, red drum, associated ground fish and an occasional cobia have been reported caught in the past, and this deployment will make it even more productive.
“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 an 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, chairman of CCA Mississippi. “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.”
Permitting and getting to the deployment stage is not without red tape. That was the case in this project but the recent deployment has made it a worthwhile venture. Cat Island Reef adds to other habitat work CCA Mississippi has done to support reef development, including Jailhouse Reef off Hancock County.
“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,” agreed James Sanders, artificial reef bureau director at MDMR. “We are proud to work with local groups like 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.
“We have received such a positive response from the community, with regards to the Cat Island Reef,” said Sean Stone, executive director of BCT. “That’s what this is all about – Enhancing marine habitat for local communities and future generations of anglers.”
The Building Conservation Trust (BCT) was founded in 2013 as the national marine habitat program of Coastal Conservation Association. BCT is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization exclusively dedicated to providing funding for local, state and national fisheries, habitat conservation and restoration projects. BCT has created a model for the successful collaboration of business, non-profit organizations and government agencies to revitalize critical habitat and establish a vibrant foundation for the marine ecosystem.