Reef Enhancement For Aquaculture Sites (REFAS Phase 2) (RD046)


The REFAS project will install Reef Cubes® on a large-scale to accelerate reef creation underneath aquaculture sites and enhance multitrophic aquaculture & fishery opportunities, ensuring all stakeholders benefit from a growing blue economy.

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Project Summary:

This project was originally funded as a feasibility study (FS007) and has now been awarded funding to continue the project into the R&D phase.

REFAS is a pioneering study to accelerate reef creation around aquaculture sites and enhance aquaculture, fishery and restoration opportunities. The proposed 18-month R&D project will demonstrate the large-scale installation of Reef Cube® technology (innovatively casted cubes of a low carbon replacement cement) in close proximity to an existing scallop farm in Torbay. The primary benefits of placing Reef Cubes® in and around aquaculture sites are improved ecosystem services, increased biodiversity from sustainable habitat creation, with added revenue opportunities from additional wild finfish & shellfish catch. Where natural reef has been destroyed by centuries of bottom trawling, damaged areas need a helping hand to quickly recover and regain a foothold. These newly established areas will benefit from Reef Cubes® as a protective barrier and deterrent to prevent further damage from dredging and bottom trawling. Although Reef Cubes® are man-made precast units, they will soon be colonised with life and in time, unrecognisable as man-made materials. This ground-breaking collaboration between stakeholders will pave the way and establish important precedents in creating sustainable, multitrophic fishing communities. Habitat regeneration, proactive and science- led long term monitoring and responsible sustainability focussed management of our oceans will maximise their productivity and help feed growing populations to ensure all stakeholders benefit fairly from the growing blue economy.

This project builds on a successful feasibility pilot study that collected preliminary data on deployment techniques for 100 Reef Cubes®, which included observations that biodiversity and fish stocks seemed to increase about the cubes.

STATUS: Ongoing

Project Lead

ARC Marine Ltd.