June 01, 2006
USS Oriskany Revisited
Back in May I wrote about the former USS Oriskany being sunk off the coast of Florida to become an artificial reef and thought those photos were impressive. Then my buddy Tom called my attention to some equally powerful photos taken by Keith Mille. Very Impressive!
There is nothing artificial about a near 900 foot long ship resting on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico! And Kieth's photos prove it. Hoping to be able to illustrate this follow-up post with an image of his, I contacted Keith via e-mail. It turns out, he is a Fisheries Biologist for Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and was kind enough to grant permission as well, he provided a bit more information on the scenes from the depths.
"The diver pictured in the photo ... is Robert Turpin, director of Escambia County’s Division of Marine Resources. Escambia partnered with us (the State of Florida) in working with the Navy for the successful completion of the project. Here’s a link to Escambia County’s web site... http://www.co.escambia.fl.us/departments/nesd/MarineResources.php
There are plenty of other great photos of the newly established Oriskany Reef here, I highly recommend taking a look!
Although I hate to see these great defenders of our freedoms ever fall beneath the thermocline, I am glad the service to the country does not end with their decommissioning.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Division of Marine Fisheries, Bureau of Marine Fisheries Management's Artificial Reef Program has a number of goals but their primary objectives are illustrated by these 5 points outlined on their overview page.
The Under the program, reefs have been constructed with one or more of the following intended objectives: 1) enhance private recreational and charter fishing and diving opportunities; 2) provide a socio-economic benefit to local coastal communities; 3) increase reef fish habitat; 4) reduce user conflicts; 5) facilitate reef related research; and, 6) while accomplishing objectives 1-5, do no harm to fishery resources, Essential Fish Habitat (EFH), or human health.
Take it from a guy who has fished artificial reefs, these endeavors are priceless to preserving and enhancing our marine habitat and insuring future generations can enjoy all our oceans have to offer.
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