By KEVIN RICH
Special to the PRESS
In a meeting held on Tuesday, Feb. 20 the SPI Economic Development Corporation heard a presentation from Dr. Mostafa Malki, with Aaron Economic Consulting, regarding the economic impact of the RGV Reef Project.
“Artificial reefs are not a new thing. They have been used in the past, in ancient times, for military purposes,” stated Malki. He explained that they were first used for ecological benefits during the 17th century in Japan. “The first use of artificial reefs in the U. S. was in South Carolina in 1830.”
Obstructed navigation, inefficient uses of resources, inaccessibility for anglers, and conflicts among competing interests were cited by Malki as potential negative impacts of such projects. He explained that recognition of the need for comprehensive planning regarding such projects led to the passage of both the National Fishing Enhancement Act of 1984, as well as the Texas Artificial Reef Act of 1989.
In his presentation, Malki described the RGV Reef Project as “an unprecedented innovative large-scale multi-year project that plans to combine low, medium, and high-relief structures over a 1,650 acres area.” He noted that the scale of the project would make it the biggest artificial reef project in the State. “It’s so big that it will be about 41 percent of the area of all reef projects that are in Texas, so it’s a big project.”
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