What do twelve Liberty ships, four deck barges, two tugboats, one shrimp boat, and a 100-foot Navy dive barge have in common?
During World War II, Liberty ships carried supplies, oil and personnel into the most dangerous waters. Their wartime duties behind them, the twelve Liberty ships continue to serve, now as artificial reefs off the coast of Texas.
The Liberty ships and one WWII tanker, the SS John Worthington, are readily accessible reef sites, clustered in five groups on the Gulf floor.
The Gulf accounts for 80% of all shrimp harvested, 62% of all oysters harvested and more than 1.4 billion pounds of annual seafood production. More than 140 petroleum platformsa€”with more on the waya€”have found new purpose as marine habitat in the Texas Artificial Reef Program.
Texas boasts 66 artificial reef sites ranging from 5 to 100 miles from shore in the Gulf of Mexicoa€”thata€™s 3,440 acres of prime fishing and diving adventure. Seven reef sites within nine nautical miles of shore serve as accessible nearshore fishing and diving opportunities.
Red snapper, the most popular game fish in Texas Gulf waters, thrive around artificial reef sites.
With a few exceptions, the floor of the Gulf of Mexico is flat and bare except for artificial reef sites. The Texas Clipper ship reef off South Padre Island generates more than $1 million for the local economy from anglers and $1.4a€“$2 million from divers. Thirteen ships have been intentionally sunk as part of the Texas Artificial Reef Program, the largest being the USTS Texas Clipper.


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Scientific divers see red snapper at TPWD artificial reef sites during four of every ten visits to these locations.


Nearly 200 marine fish species have been seen on these complex, stable, and durable habitats among artificial reef structures. Anglers spend on average $460 per fishing trip, while divers spend upwards of $2,000 per dive.
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They were later transferred to Texas Parks and Wildlife and form the centerpiece of the Texas Ships-to-Reefs program. If you reside in an EU member state besides UK, import VAT on this purchase is not recoverable. Still others carried supplies to the besieged city of Antwerp, Belgium and to Suez during the Battle of El Alamein.



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