NPR logo The Secret To Successful Fishing: Throw A Fridge In The Water

National Geographic

The Secret To Successful Fishing: Throw A Fridge In The Water

A story in the February issue of National Geographic explains how, in some cases, throwing junk in the water may not always be such a bad thing. It's common fisherman knowledge, the article explains, that sometimes the best place to go fishing is at the site of a former shipwreck: Plankton wash against its walls, upon which small fish feed, which attracts even bigger fish, etc.

The bridge of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Duane attracts schools of fish. The ship was intentionally sunk in 1987 off Key Largo to create an artificial reef 120 feet deep. David Doubilet/National Geographic hide caption

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David Doubilet/National Geographic

The bridge of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Duane attracts schools of fish. The ship was intentionally sunk in 1987 off Key Largo to create an artificial reef 120 feet deep.

David Doubilet/National Geographic

As recently as 2009, a major ship was submerged to create an artificial reef off the coast of Key West — to attract divers and fishermen to Key West. Although this can be good news for those who fish, the article explains the risk — that an artificial reef can attract life from a real reef, and, obviously, foster overfishing.

On May 27, 2009, the General Hoyt S. Vandenberg was sunk to create an artificial reef. David Doubilet/National Geographic hide caption

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David Doubilet/National Geographic

Fish swim through Neptune Memorial Reef, an underwater cemetery with decorative arches and columns installed on the ocean floor off Miami Beach. The cremated remains of about 200 people have been mixed with cement and molded into memorial sculptures. David Doubilet/National Geographic hide caption

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David Doubilet/National Geographic

This M60 is one of 100 tanks sunk in 1994 in a 1,200-square-mile zone of artificial reefs off the coast of Alabama. David Doubilet/National Geographic hide caption

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David Doubilet/National Geographic

A day after the General Hoyt S. Vandenberg was sunk, a diver descended to inspect the ship, which landed perfectly upright. David Doubilet/National Geographic hide caption

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David Doubilet/National Geographic

A photo gallery on Geographic's site shows the various incarnations of artificial reefs, including, oddly enough, Neptune Memorial Reef, an underwater cemetery.