Concrete used to make natural habitats

LITTLE RIVER, SC - They say one man's trash is another man's treasure and in this case, unusable concrete is being reshaped into a new home for our marine life friends.

The Ready Reef Project was rolled out Tuesday morning, a partnership between Ready Mixed Concrete Company/ARGOS, the Jim Caudle Reef Foundation and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. The mission is simple, giving second life to concrete once thrown away.

"They don't like to call it waste, they call it used product but ya know it ends up somewhere, either in a landfill or elsewhere and why not put it back," says Director of the Jim Caudle REef Foundation, Ron McManus.

So far nearly 60 of these artificial reef cones have been made and within the next two weeks, they'll be dumped about 2.5 miles off the shore in Little River.

There are currently 45 artificial reefs off South Carolina's coast and they bring in big business. From divers, to fishermen picking up bait and ice the state estimates they bring an economic boost of roughly $84 million dollars a year. However, with a growing number of folks dropping a line, it's taking a toll on the overall fish populations.

"And our fishery resources decline, year after year, there's more fisherman going after them. So the more we can build these artificial reefs the more habitat we create and hopefully the more fish we produce off shore," says Robert Martore with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

Which is why fisherman Stephen Page says more fish is music to his ears, "Truthfully its cheaper to buy fish than it is to go catch them, but it's a lot of fun."