Mississippi Gulf Fishing Banks, Inc.

Partial Activity Report for the Period
May 10 - June 10, 2004

During this period, there was 1 Reef Monitoring Trip conducted by PRIMOFISH.COM. Spotter Operations for the month may be covered by the DMR under a separate report. On June 5, video and observations were taken of the Gwen Tide and Ladnier Barge in FH-13.

031125 Gwen Tide Reef, 417F13
Bow Position: 2959.560'N / 8831.870'W 12454.8/47020.9/29606.2
Observations on this June 5 visit revealed that the reef has been struck by a passing vessel. It appears that a large northbound vessel drawing around 50 to 55 feet of water struck the starboard side of the wheel house causing it to collapse on the port side. This incident has occurred since the last visit on April 3. While the reef is certainly quite viable, Divers can no longer swim freely thru one door of the wheel house and out of the other. In addition, fish that previously were previously observed swimming freely thru the wheel house are now absent. Most of the FADs (Fish Aggregating Devices) around the bow area are now also absent. The bow mast, however, remains intact. Fish populations included a large school of Bluefish (600-800/1-3 lbs.), Blue Runners (75-100), Sheepshead (25-30), Triggerfish (20-25), Red Snapper (20-25/1-3 lbs.), Juvenile Red Snapper (40-50/<6inches), and Butterfly Fish (2). No Grouper, Cobia, or larger Red Snapper were sighted. Also seen were significant populations of tomtates, pinfish, blennies, urchins, and arrow crabs. Barnacles were heavily encrusting the upper areas of the reef but diminished significantly toward the bottom. Interestingly, there were some port holes and gated openings in the gunwales where barnacles and blennies seemed to particularly thrive. Barnacle encrustation on the railings was evident but not thriving as it is around these reported openings. The additional marine fouling of the upper areas of this reef shows the advantage of having a taller reef that extends up above the usual silt areas seen off the Mississippi Coast. The name on the sides of the vessel is almost non-visible now due to the marine fouling.

970623 Ladnier Barge 205F13
Position: 3002.690'N/8831.865'W 12454.4/47033.8
Following the above dive, video and observations were conducted on the Ladnier Barge located in the north end of FH-13. This 7 year old reef was studied on July 25, 1998 prior to Hurricane Georges, and again after the hurricane on October 15, 1998. There was significant changes in the reef due to the storm as reported previously. This visit reveals the west end of the barge to be below grade and the east end no more than 2 feet above grade. Sediment is over the top of the west end of the barge, but soft corals protrude thru indicating the barge deck is indeed there. A forest of soft corals flourish throughout the reef, particularly toward the east end. The maturity of this reef is evident thru the sightings of larger game size red snapper (4-6/10-20 lbs) (25-30/5-10 lbs.) (40-50/1-4 lbs.), grouper (3/2-15 lbs.), and Triggerfish (5-10/1-6 lbs.). Also sighted were mangrove snapper (25-30/1-3 lbs.), Sheepshead (20-25/1-3 lbs.), spadefish, rock bass, sand bass, and hi-tops. A shrimp net is still entangled as are several anchors. Also a commercial bandit rig was seen entangled in the shrimp net with a live red snapper still hooked and entangled. Overall the reef is still performing well, despite deterioration and settlement into the sea bed.

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