Volusia County wants to spend $2M for more artificial reefs - FOX 35 News Orlando

Volusia County wants to spend $2M for more artificial reefs

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DELAND, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

Volusia County wants to keep expanding it's program of building artificial reefs off the coast to provide fishing opportunities for residents and tourists.  Councilman Josh Wagner says in the next round of building, they will look to put those reefs closer to the shore.

"We want to provide access to people that don't have as large a boat, so they can actually fish inshore. Plus if you are inshore, it's a nice destination. If you are in a paddleboard, or a kayak, it gives you a destination you can get to because it's right off the beach, so that's really neat."

We were with the county last year when they sunk a barge. Part of the push is a strike back to the federal over fishing regulations that severely limited or outright put a ban on keeping red snapper and grouper caught in coastal waters. Wagner says those regulations have been crushing.

"Federal rules hurt a lot of people. It crippled a lot of businesses. It was hard, and we could go down that road, that whole conversation about the science behind it that a lot of us don't agree with, but this was our way of trying to help our fishermen."

The plan is to spend $2 million or more enhancing the county's artificial reef system. We asked Volusia taxpayer Valentino Zeek what he thought of the plan.

"In today's tight times for money, I don't think this would be the appropriate time."

Councilman Wagner tells FOX 35 this is money well spent.

"It's a big economic development driver, I mean this is economic development at it's best."

Volusia County's plan is to become one of the top fishing destinations in the United States. They will vote on $69,000 worth of engineering and design studies for the first two new reefs in early February.

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