Jake’s Outdoor Adventures Dec. 2017

by Jake Worthington

Christmas came early in August of this year for the Outer Banks Anglers Club Artificial Reef Committee. The NC Marine Fisheries awarded the group a grant from the NC Coastal Resources Fishing License Fund in the first-year amount of $371,000  to create a new reef near Oregon Inlet. This was a hard-fought battle to establish a new reef led by retired NC Superior Court Judge Richard J. Parker. Judge Parker, along with fellow Outer Banks Angler Club member Brian Forbes, worked tirelessly to secure a funding source to make this dream a reality. The OBX Anglers Club is a local fishing club that works to promote fishing resources and opportunities in the Outer Banks area. The club wanted to expand their efforts in establishing more fishing opportunities for its members and visitors to the OBX. The club created an Artificial Reef Committee within the club to study and plan the feasibility of creating a new artificial reef to serve the Oregon Inlet area. The Committee worked hand in hand with NC Marine Fisheries to establish the new reef and applied for a grant to make this dream a reality.

The NC Artificial Reef Program is administered by NCDMF, and currently there are 42 artificial reefs in NC divided into four regions. The regions are Long Bay (SC Line to Cape Fear), Onslow Bay (Cape Fear to Cape Lookout), Raleigh Bay (Cape Lookout to Cape Hatteras) and OBX (Cape Hatteras to VA Line). The breakdown of artificial reefs in each area break down as follows: Long Bay with 9, Onslow Bay with 22, Raleigh Bay with 7 and the OBX with 4. As you can see, the OBX and the Hatteras regions were being underserved even though Dare County sends over a million dollars a year to Raleigh through sales of the Coastal Fishing License fees. Fishing is a big business in Dare County with millions of dollars generated through not only recreational fishing but also commercial fishing.

With thousands of charter and recreational fishermen fishing the area, you can see that our area of the state was not being served fairly by having access to only four artificial reefs. NCDMF and other state elected officials also recognized this. The four existing artificial reefs are being enhanced with new materials from the demolition of the Herbert Bonner Bridge after the new bridge is completed. These reef enhancements, along with the newly created reef, will benefit the fishermen who fish the areas out of Oregon Inlet. We are fortunate that fellow fishermen like Judge Richard Parker and the OBXAC worked hard to secure the new reef to help promote fishing to our resident and visiting fishermen in the Outer Banks area. Currently the club is hoping to continue this important work and add even more reefs to the area. To learn more, visit their website at http://www.outerbanksanglersclub.com/ and donate or join the club to help make this project a success. The OBXAC Artificial Reef Committee is a Non-Profit Tax Exempt 501(c)7 Organization and all donations are tax deductible.