Mini reefs installed at Mar Vista

    LONGBOAT KEY – Ten mini reefs installed Friday under the docks at Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant will help fight red tide, START Director Sandy Gilbert said.

    The structures improve water clarity and increase oxygen levels in the water, he said, adding, “They will show people they can make a difference.”

    Mini reefs installed at Mar Vista
    The mini reef cleans more than 30,000 gallons of water daily, according to Ocean Habitats. – Cindy Lane | Sun

    START – Solutions To Avoid Red Tide – and Lucky’s Market in Sarasota funded the 10 mini reefs, which can clean more than 30,000 gallons of water daily and grow more than 300 fish and 200 crabs annually, said David Wolff, president of Ocean Habitats, who installed the mini reefs.

    The lightweight structures float underneath docks, where they are tethered out of the way of boats, he said, adding that the mini reefs do not require state permits to install.

    Besides attracting fish, the reefs also attract oysters, which themselves filter water, and a bonus for dock owners – dolphins that feed on the fish, Gilbert said.

    Mini reefs installed at Mar Vista
    David Wolff, president of Ocean Habitats, prepares a mini reef for installation at Mar Vista docks Friday. – Cindy Lane | Sun

    “We’re very excited to be a test market,” said Chuck Wolfe, CEO of The Chiles Group, owner of Mar Vista. “The docks are a big part of our business.”

    Most of the more than 2,000 mini reefs in Florida are under residential docks, but START is working to expand their use by businesses, and lobbying local officials to encourage their use.

    The mini reefs, which sell for $250 apiece, can last decades, Wolff said. A 10% discount is available at Ocean Habitats with the code START10.

    Mini reefs installed at Mar Vista
    The mini reefs are tied underneath a dock, where they float and attract marine life. – Cindy Lane | Sun