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Friends of RGV Reef create an artificial fish habitat with the support of green ship recycler, International Shipbreaking

Jack Arksey

“EMR – Capt. Berry” Under Tow to the RGV Reef
“EMR – Capt. Berry” Under Tow to the RGV Reef

International Shipbreaking, based in the Port of Brownsville Texas, has worked with the local non-profit organisation, Friends of RGV Reef to create an artificial fish habitat off the coast of South Padre Island.

International Shipbreaking, one of the world’s leading, green ship recyclers (part of EMR Metal Recycling), has provided support and volunteers to assist the Friends of RGV Reef in their efforts to create a fish habitat offshore South Padre Island, Texas.

As a thank you for their support EMR was asked to name the next vessel to be scuttled as an artificial reef. The decision was made to name this vessel after International Shipbreaking Limited, LLC Vice President, Captain Robert “Bob” Berry. Captain Berry, who has 25-years of service to the company, has worked in the maritime industry for over 50 years as a Master, Salvage Expert and leader at the Port of Brownville ship recycling.

On Wednesday October 14, 2020 at ‘High Noon’, the vessel was sunk to the bottom the Gulf where it will become artificial fish habitat. RGV Reef is an innovative project specifically designed to create habitat for juvenile Red Snapper. Estimations state that the project will increase the Red Snapper population by between 60,000 and 240,000 in its first two years.1

Friends of RGV Reef, formed in 2015, has carried out many projects to create habitat for fish in the Gulf of Mexico. With the goal of creating 1650-acres of artificial reef off the coast of South Padre Island, the group’s projects has already increased populations of Red Snapper and bait fish in the area. To date, the organisation has sunk 1500 tons of broken concrete slab, 60,000 cinder blocks, dozens of reefing pyramids and two fishing vessels, to name a few. This work saw them named 2019 Conversation Wrangler by the Texan by Nature conversation group.2

Chris Green, Senior Manager at International Shipbreaking Ltd, said:

“Here at International Shipbreaking we care passionately about the environment and we are delighted to support groups such as Friends of RGV Reef".

“The group works tirelessly to ensure environmental continuity for local fish populations, work which will increase ecosystems in the years to come and educates communities about the importance of conservation”.

EMR one of the world’s largest green ship recycling companies, has three specialist facilities located in Brownsville, Texas; New Orleans and Amelia, Louisiana. These specialised facilities have safely recycled over 400 ships and marine structures including: USS Tripoli (LPH 10), USS Constellation (CV-64), USS Ranger (CV-61) and USS Independence (CV 62).