While fish attractors may seem like a relatively new initiative, artificial fish habitat structures have actually been used around the world for centuries: the earliest known fish attractors were used in Japan in the 1600s to improve local fishing stock. Meanwhile, the first artificial fish structure in the United States was constructed off the coast of South Carolina in the 1830s out of log huts. Today, however, many fish habitats are formed in part due to different parts of debris, raising questions about the long term effects of these artificial structures.
Our oceans, lakes, rivers and other bodies of water are now littered with a variety of man-made objects, ranging from car tires to sunken ships. Over time, these discarded objects have become part of the natural landscape, attracting fish and forage species like insects and crustaceans to the cover they provide. One of the most common examples of this phenomenon are the discarded oil rigs found throughout the U.S.’s waters: because they are in place for several years while the rig is operation, fish populations naturally adapt to this new addition to their environment, centering much of their lives around these structures. Because of this, a small number of these decommissioned rigs are left in the water instead of being towed to shore, helping both fish and the area’s fishing industry.
However, these projects do have their critics: environmentalists are wary of the effect these decommissioned structures might have on the ocean over time, especially as oil rigs have occasionally been shown to leak toxic chemicals. Likewise, the long-term effect these artificial habitats might have on fish populations has yet to be revealed. For this reason, public waterways are often required to approve the use of fish attractors on a case by case basis. And while owners of private bodies of water can use fish attractors at their own discretion, discussing the different options with an expert can be extremely helpful when it comes to choosing the right structure for a specific area. Contact a specialist today to find out what kind of artificial fish habitat is right for you!