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News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy

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Can 500 Underwater Statues Help The Ocean?

Posted On August 23, 2012 by

Underwater statues are fun to look at, but can they really function as an artificial reef? Credit: Jim Bahn flickr stream

Two of my favorite pastimes are visiting art museums and exploring new underwater habitats. But combining the two can be environmentally risky. That’s why there are a couple of things that concern me about Jason deCaires Taylor’s project in Cancun, Mexico, that has placed 500 statues as an underwater tourist attraction. Here are a couple questions I asked myself after hearing about the site.

1. How does it help ocean health?

The artist, Jason deCaires Taylor, mentions that his statues at Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA) are being covered with coral and algae, but this does not necessarily mean his statues are helping the ocean. When implementing artificial reefs, the placement of human-made structures onto the seafloor, you need to have biological goals in place. This ensures that your artificial reef, or 500 statues in this case, contains organisms that can co-exist in a way that mimics the natural food web over time instead of throwing it out of balance.

2. Are the statues secure? Continue reading »