Quick Fact: For every $1 spent on artificial reefs in the Florida Panhandle, the conservative overall economic benefit of the artificial reef system over its average functioning life span is $138 (source: John Dodrill, Natural Sciences Manager, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission Artificial Reef Program). That is a 13,800% return on investment.
Still not convinced of the economic value of artificial reefs? Then peruse the following economic impact study:
A December 1998 study, Economic Impact and Importance of Artificial Reefs, conducted by Dr. Frederick W. Bell and Dr. Mark Bonn of Florida State University, estimated the economic impact of artificial reefs in Bay County. Significant findings of this extensive report include the following:
Over the 12 month time period of this study it was determined that fishing and diving visitors spent over $131 million in Bay County during those days that they engaged in saltwater fishing and diving on or near artificial reefs. This supported 2,727 employees who received an estimated $24.69 million in wages. In addition, the study calculated that residents spent approximately $16.74 million in expenses directly attributable to the presence of artificial reefs. These expenditures by local divers and fishermen generated an additional $1.6 million in wages and salaries and supported 147 full and part-time employees.
Dr. Bell asserted that “the economic impact figure, despite its size, is actually eclipsed by the asset value of the region’s system of artificial reefs.” This is a sum computed to be what anglers and divers would be willing to pay to use Panhandle reefs. Dr. Bell said, “We determined this to be $656 million.” So, when considered with the economic impact, it’s clear that artificial reefs constitute an enormous public benefit to the Florida Panhandle. It is also important to note that these figures represent 1998 dollars. Thus, Bay County has an economic interest in supporting the charter fishing and diving through the artificial reef program.
- Scott Jackson
- Allen Golden