Officials begin first phase of massive artificial reef project

Posted: Updated:
HAMPTON BAYS -

New York officials on Thursday began the first phase of building one of the largest artificial reefs in state history just off the Shinnecock Inlet.

State and local officials, as well as environmentalists, were brought 2 miles out to watch two vessels submerged and a thousand tons of steel and concrete from the old Tappan Zee Bridge dropped to the ocean floor.

“We have off Long Island all sandy bottoms,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “There is nothing to generate a fish habitat, so the reef will be especially helpful here.”

“All the material that we are using for the reef is all cleaned,” the governor continued. “There is no lead paint. There is no oil. There is no gas.”

The artificial reef will eventually become a network of 12 reefs installed across Long Island's South Shore reaching from Shinnecock to the Rockaways.

John Haley, captain of the Reel Lucky and president of a fishing club, is thrilled about the project.

“We need that natural habitat for the juvenile fish so they have a chance to spawn and keep the whole ecology and economy going,” said Haley.

The reef installation is expected to continue for several months and will cost about $5 million.

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