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MBARA Goes After Big Reefs in 2013

by on Jan.01, 2013, under Apalachicola, Carrabelle and St. George Island, Destin and Ft. Walton Beach, Navarre, Pensacola and Perdido, Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and St. Joseph Bay

The Board of Directors of the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association are moving ahead full steam for 2013 to try and obtain fabulous new reefs like Coast Guard Cutters, bridge spans, and pre-fabricated concrete structures.   These will all be placed in currently permitted sites off the shores of Port St. Joe and Mexico Beach, Florida.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Grant

Twelve (12) new reefs are on the drawing board with a value of $80,000 which will be completed in early Spring.   The grant money will combine with matching funds raised by the MBARA from the Kingfish Tournament, sales of t-shirts, and donations.  The grant has been approved and is currently out for bids to come in on specifications of the project.

St. George Island Bridge Spans
We are working to raise three (3) bridge spans damaged by Tropical Storm Debby back in June of 2012.  We will raise them off of the floor of the bay, and then transport them to permitted sites in the Gulf of Mexico.  These spans are 55 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 7 feet tall.

Teaming with Bay and Gulf Counties
The MBARA is working diligently with officials from Bay and Gulf counties to try and build some significant artificial reefs using some of the NRDA (Natural Response Damage Assessment) and RESTORE ACT funds coming from monies paid out by BP due to the oil spill and its damaging effects on the environment and subsequent economic decline.  The funds in NRDA and RESTORE are different and will require different applications and priorities as established by local and state governmental agencies.

These plans include 4 Coast Guard Cutters, some underwater sculpture designs, and massive pre-fabricated concrete structures.

Artificial Reefs Have Million Dollar Impact
The economic impact will be substantial.  Building artificial reefs will bring millions to our local economy and thousands of jobs.

Who says so?  There are numerous studies that have been done in Florida that very vividly show how a local economy can benefit greatly from a well developed artificial reef program that will bring in thousands of visitors for fishing and diving.

In l998 Professors Bell, Bonn, and Leeworthy did a study on Northwest Florida to study the effect of the artificial reefs on the local economies.   They studied the five counties of Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, and Bay.   They found 414 million dollars in expenditures for fishing and diving related to artificial reefs.   That meant 8,136 jobs, 84 million in wages, with 359 million attributed to visitors.

In 2001 Johns, Leeworthy, Bell, and Bonn published a study of five counties if Southeast Florida including Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe.   What they found was that visitors spent l.7 billion dollars on fishing and diving related activities on artificial reefs which meant 27,000 jobs and 782 million in wages.

After the 2006 sinking of the USS Oriskany off of Pensacola,  over 4,200 dive trips were taken the first year.  In the two local counties of Escambia and Baldwin there were 3.6 million dollars in diving related expenditdures which meant 67 new full time jobs and l.4 million in local wages.

In 2006 the USS Vandenburg was sunk off of Key West.  This was found to produce 6.5 million in diving and fishing related expenditures, l05 full time jobs, and 3.2 million in income for local workers.

With so much money coming to our area in NRDA and RESTORE ACT funds, surely a part of that money can go to build large artificial reefs like 4 Coast Guard Cutters which will bring tourists to dive and fish which will translate to local wages, jobs, and and an increased tax base.  With millions of dollars coming soon to our area, it is essential that we use part of that money on projects that will produce jobs, boost our local economy, and grow our tax base.   Artificial reefs will do that.

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Port St. Joe/Mexico Beach 2012 Tournament Schedules…Plus–New Reef Deployment Information

by on Mar.01, 2012, under Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and St. Joseph Bay

From the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association:

Ling Ding Tournament In April
The 98 Real Estate Group is once again sponsoring the Ling Ding Tournament the first three weekends in April.  The tournament is being held on the Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays of each weekend but will end on April 21.

Zach Childs of 98 Real Estate Group said “The prize money has been increased this year,  and we anticipate a really great tournament.” The overall cash money in prizes is now $5,500.  The biggest ling in the tournament gets $1500 and each weekly winner with the biggest ling will get $1,000.

A new Spanish Mackerel division will pay $1,000 to the biggest Spanish in the tournament.  You can register at Half Hitch Tackle in Port St. Joe or at Mexico Beach Marina.

Salt Water Slam Tournament On June 8 and 9

We have a new tournament called the Salt Water Slam which will feature both inshore and offshore fishing.  It will take the place of the Blue Water Outrigger Tournament which will not be held this year.  It will be the first leg of the Panhandle Kingfish Slam covering the Salt Water Slam, the Mexico Beach Offshore Classic, and the MBARA Kingfish Tournament.  More details will be coming out soon. A barbeque, a big outdoor concert, and lots of fun all held at the Port St. Joe Marina in Port St. Joe, Florida.  An outdoor nautical garage sale will be held on Saturday, June 9, at the marina for those not fishing.

Mexico Beach Marina Offshore Classic Tournament-July 27 & 28

The Mexico Beach Marina will once again sponsor the Offshore Classic Tournament to be held July 27 and 28. Big money prizes in Wahoo, Dolphin, and King Mackerel.  This is a two day tournament for offshore anglers.  Check with the Mexico Beach Marina for full details out soon.

MBARA 16th Annual Kingfish Tournament
August 25

Put August 25 on your calendar for the MBARA Kingfish Tournament.  There is a new Miss Kingfish, a new t-shirt color, and a new location for the Captains’ Party.

We will meet at Beacon Hill Park/Veterans Memorial Park right on HWY 98 outside of Mexico Beach for the Friday night Captains’ Party.  It is huge, spacious, overlooks the Gulf of Mexico, and has parking for thousands of cars.   It is one-half of a mile from Mexico Beach heading toward Port St. Joe on the right side of HWY 98.  It is easy to find.

17 New Reefs Going Down in April
During the first week of April the MBARA and the City of Mexico Beach will be deploying approximately $100,000 worth of new reefs off of Mexico Beach.  The exact date will depend on sea conditions.  We need 2-3 foot seas to deploy.

Money from FWC grants and private donations will be used to build 17 new reefs including the really big John Thompson Memorial Reef to be built out in the Bell Shoal permit area a quarter mile from the Lumbership.  There will be 72 modules put out to make the 17 reefs.  Check the MBARA website and MBARA Facebook for exact date and details if you wish to observe deployment.  All are welcome.

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