Mayor Marilyn Hatley and the members of the North Myrtle Beach City Council participated in an update on the status of the Jim Caudle Reef (PA-01), which is located about 2.5 nautical miles from the south jetty of Little River and lies under about 30 feet of water. The event was hosted by the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce.
Spearheaded by North Myrtle Beach businessman Ron McManus and his wife, Kathy, the artificial reef project began in 2003. The reef has grown to include about 800,000 cubic feet of materials— including specially made concrete cones, the dredge Orion, close to 100 outmoded armored personnel carriers, a concrete mixer, a tanker trailer, hundreds of tons of concrete rubble, and more.
The Jim Caudle Reef is an inshore artificial reef, which means that it is accessible by small and large boats. It is the most visited artificial reef in South Carolina.
L-R: North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce President Marc Jordan, Jim Caudle Reef Foundation President & Founder Ron McManus, North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley. South Carolina currently has 45 artificial reefs that, through fishing and other activities, generate more than $85 million for the South Carolina economy annually.
An artificial reef is accomplished by placing suitable long-lived, stable and environmentally safe materials (usually steel or concrete) on a selected area of ocean bottom in order to create fish habitat. Once the material is in place, it acts in the same way that naturally occurring rock outcroppings do in providing the hard substrate necessary for the basic formation of a livebottom reef community.
When properly constructed, artificial reefs provide fish habitat that is as productive as naturally occurring reefs, limited only by the lifespan of the materials utilized in construction. The ocean floor off North Myrtle Beach is relatively flat and does not offer many rock outcroppings. The creation of the Jim Caudle Reef introduced a thriving inshore habitat for many species of fish.
Speakers at the event included North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce President Marc Jordan; North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley; Jim Caudle Reef Foundation President Ron McManus; and representatives from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the South Carolina National Guard, and Coastal Carolina University’s Marine Science Division.
Press Release, October 18, 2013