Artificial reefs are essential to preserve aquatic ecosystems. The municipality of Mersin, a Mediterranean province, took a landmark step to this extent. In a first for the country, reefs printed by 3-D printers were submerged on Friday off the coast of the city. Twelve artificial reefs will help the preservation of the ecosystem. Reefs stand out among similar preservation efforts as they are environment-friendly.
Workers lowered the reefs to a depth of 11 meters (36 feet), some 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) off the coast of the Mezitli district, before divers properly placed them at the bottom.
Mersin Mayor Vahap Seçer told Ihlas News Agency (IHA) that reefs were produced by a company owned by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and the project was a joint effort of their municipality, a marine institute, the Coast Guard and the local directorate of agriculture and forestry. “They are placed in an area frequented by amateur fishermen,” he said, noting that the reefs would provide a shelter for the fish which die when caught in abandoned "ghost" nets. “Marine ecosystem here was damaged due to illegal fishing and overfishing. Environmental pollution also threatens it,” he said. The mayor added that they expected to see the positive results of reefs within months. “Reefs will soon be covered with moss and will be home to small fish first and then to bigger fish,” he said.
Artificial reefs are mostly made out of unused, abandoned vehicles, from cars to vessels and planes. Seçer says these also posed an environmental threat but printed reefs were more “organic and do not harm the environment.” He added that they planned to install some 500 more reefs along the coast of Mersin.