CCA/ Sea Hunt Reef set for Beaufort/ Hilton Headz
In a three-year effort to complete three new deepwater reefs (100-foot depths or greater) off the coast of South Carolina, CCA SC’s Topwater Action Campaign (TWA) and its group of dedicated partners have secured the material to create the CCA/ Sea Hunt reef off the lower coast of the Palmetto State. At more than 100 feet in length, the Grace McAllister will be deployed off Beaufort and Hilton Head as soon as cleanup and preparations are completed. Expectations for deployment are for some time in early 2020. The ongoing collaboration between CCA SC and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) was joined by South Carolina boat builder Sea Hunt Boat Company to complete the third project in the organization’s initial deepwater reef initiative.
“This a real thrill for us as an organization to fulfill this phase of our reefing goals,” said TWA committee chairman Gary Keisler. “The Sea Hunt Boat Company for years has been a tremendous partner for our marine conservation advocacy, habitat, and recreational fishing improvement efforts in South Carolina. To have them recognized through this reef for their support is something our habitat committee, our board, and our volunteers felt was very appropriate.”
The state chapter’s Topwater Action Campaign is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2019 and it began creating new fish habitat almost immediately upon its inception. Initially, the program began with inshore estuaries by partnering with the SCDNR’s SCORE program to create oyster reefs for both habitat and water quality improvements. The program has now expanded to some 140 reef sites along the entire coast.
TWA soon expanded its focus to nearshore reefs that impacted nearshore species and provided easy access to anglers. After seven of those deployments dotted along the coast of South Carolina, TWA committed to establishing three deepwater sites to benefit species such as the snapper/grouper complex and enhancing access for recreational anglers. Support for water quality monitoring stations along the grand strand have taken place and now scientific research for fisheries in South Carolina waters are now being funded. To date, TWA has funded more than half a million dollars in habitat, equipment, and research investment for the direct benefit of marine resources and recreational angling in the Palmetto State.
“TWA continues to expand the organization’s capabilities to be what we like to refer to as a ‘complete’ saltwater recreational fishing and marine conservation advocacy group,” said CCA SC Executive Director Scott Whitaker. “The collaboration between our conservation partners is what makes these types of projects and conservation accomplishments so obtainable and the future for sustainable marine resources and the public’s access to them will continue to be the focus of CCA South Carolina.”