Marine Artificial Reef Research and Development: Integrating Fisheries Management Objectives

Research and Development on the Design and Construction of Artificial Reefs in Malaysia (1975-2017)

Ahmad Ali, Nur Iskandar Tajudin, and Rafezi Hazizi


Abstract.—Research and development (R&D) on the design and construction of artificial reefs in Malaysia was initiated by researchers from the Fisheries Research Institute, Department of Fisheries Malaysia (DoFM) based in Penang in 1975. Initially, R&D only focused on simple designs and construction using discarded tires, wooden fishing boats, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe, reinforced concrete, and ceramic sewerage pipe. These reefs were used in fisheries management to maximize resource enhancement, resource conservation, and habitat rehabilitation and mitigation, as well as being an aid to alleviate the problem of depleting fish resources in coastal waters. However, in 2006, the DoFM made a major policy change in the design and construction materials of artificial reefs in the country. The focus was to construct large, heavy, and robust artificial reefs using durable materials such as reinforced concrete and steel to deter the encroachment of destructive fishing gears, especially trawlers, along the coastal and in marine protected areas. These new artificial reefs addressed several issues, such as fish behavior, target species, physical oceanography, and marine engineering, in their design. The reinforced concrete artificial reefs were built according to the British Standard 8110 under the supervision of officers from the Engineering Division and Research Division of the DoFM. Presently, the DoFM has designed 21 types of artificial reefs that have been deployed at 130 selected locations in Malaysia. This paper reviews the progress of R&D on the design and construction of artificial reefs using tires, wooden fishing boats, reinforced concrete, PVC pipe, ceramic materials, and steel in Malaysia between 1975 and 2017.