NORFOLK, Va. — The Virginia Saltwater Sportfishing Association (VSSA) is looking for anglers to drop artificial reefs off the shore of Norfolk's Ocean View Saturday morning for a new pilot program.
The test drop is scheduled from 8 to 11 a.m., but volunteers will meet at the Lynnhaven Boat Ramp in Virginia Beach between 7 and 10 a.m.
Chesapeake-based Heard Concrete will provide concrete reef balls that people will pick up and will be inspected by the Virginia Marine Resource Commission (VMRC) before departing for the reef site.
At the site, a boat with the VMRC will help people drop the concrete at designated spots.
The pilot program is a partnership between VSSA and VMRC that aims to provide new material to the current reefs that need it.
Artificial reefs mimic the characteristics of a natural reef, which can help strengthen the underwater ecosystem, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The VSSA said many of Virginia's reefs are sinking into the seafloor bottom and need periodic maintenance with new material in order to keep and attract fish.
If the pilot program is a success, VSSA hopes that other reefs in the Chesapeake Bay and coastal waters of Virginia could use this program to add material. The association anticipates future drop-offs at other reef sites in 2023 and 2024.
The program aims to help one reef a month when the weather is mild.
To sign up for the Saturday event and pick a time slot to pick up a concrete reef ball, visit the VSSA's Google Form.