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Artificial reefs program

In the field of coastal defense and riverbank protection, we are continuously looking for creative ways to establish the right conditions to enhance nature. By increasing our multidisciplinary knowledge we strive to contribute to climate adaptation for both the environment and our business. The development and application of large-scale artificial reefs is one of those innovations, making Boskalis an industry leader.

The goal of the Boskalis Artificial Reefs Program (ARP) is to provide solutions for environmental enrichment in our offering to clients by using artificial reef technology as an enabler for marine infrastructure or coastal protection works. Furthermore, artificial reefs can support the development and conservation of marine ecosystem cornerstone species such as corals and herbivorous fish.

The ARP relates directly to the objectives in our corporate sustainability strategy, more specifically with regard to the focus areas biodiversity and climate change mitigation. Some examples of how the ARP is making a difference is through the application of artificial reefs in living breakwaters to form a synergy between coastal protection and ecosystems (i.e. our Endless Reef technology). Knowledge development on (artificial) reefs leads to scientifically and ecologically founded solutions for projects executed in environmentally sensitive areas through mitigating and enhancing designs.

Whether it concerns coastal protection, ecological restoration and/or fisheries management, Boskalis aims to provide fit-for-purpose solutions with a clear business case. To achieve this, we engage in strong strategic partnerships with parties who are at the forefront of (modular) engineering. Boskalis hereby enables and provides opportunities for pilots, tenders and awarded projects. We also provide key insights/technical requirements for artificial reef designs in challenging environments. In return, the strategic partners provide us with a diverse range of artificial reef options to serve our clients and markets.

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Overview

From its pioneering origins in the 3D printing of reefs, the Program is evolving into modular concepts with innovative materials, designs and technology.

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3D Printed Reefs

3D printed reef units from locally dredged materials. This pioneering technology enables excellent shape complexity and habitats engineered for specific target species if required.

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Endless Reef

A next-generation in-house design of modular units harnessing the power of Mineral Accretion Technology (MAT). Self-healing and climate adapting systems for boasting coral reef health and growth.

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Modular Sealife System (MOSES)

Our unique partnership with Reefsystems enables a continuous evolution of these modular concrete reefs with excellent complexity paired with ecological functioning.

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Reef Enhancing Breakwater (REB)

A unique modular artificial reef solution designed by our partner Reefy. Strong wave energy dissipation for coastal protection combined with the habitat complexity required to boost marine biodiversity.

Artificial reefs: our solutions

Discover the diversity of our solutions and their applications. Each solution is further highlighted below.

Artificial Reefs Program Pilots

The Artificial Reefs Program integrates knowledge, business and cooperation developments, culminating in pioneering pilot projects across the globe. Below you will find an overview of our pilot projects.

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Monaco Pilot (2017-2022)

Like many European coastal resorts, Monaco’s marine life is struggling with the impact of climate change, coastal development, seawater pollution and over-fishing, which has led to a decline in the numbers of fish and shellfish. In close collaboration with the Association Monégasque pour la Protection de la Nature (AMPN), DShape, ECOMERS, we engaged in a pioneering, 3D-printed reefs pilot project. After careful design sessions, the Monaco Pilot saw the successful installation of six printed reef modules in the Larvotto Reserve in Monaco, marking the start of the next important phase: extensive monitoring of biodiversity and abundance development. Divers from the ECOMERS laboratory and AMPN are inspecting the units on a frequent basis.

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Panama Pilot (2020-2022)

The Panama Pilot aims to compare, under identical conditions, four artificial reef types that have been designed based on different design philosophies: active (MAT) versus passive (non-MAT) systems, as well as modular versus non-modular designs. The designs include the in-house designed Endless Reef units, Coralive.org minidomes, ReefSystems MOSES units and ReefBall units. In this pilot Boskalis collaborates with Reef2Reef, Commercial Diving Panama and the Maritime University of Panama to seek effective coral habitat restoration techniques in the face of coral reef decline in Panama.

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REEFolution Kenya (2021)

The biodiverse coastal reefs of Kenya support artisanal fishing and tourism. Over the past years these reefs have been severely damaged due to practices such as blast fishing. To counterbalance this increasing environmental pressure, the REEFolution Kenya initiative was established to restore and stimulate a more sustainable use of coral reefs. Past damage is rehabilitated and reef resilience increased through active coral reef restoration. In close collaboration with Wageningen University & Research and ReefSystems, Boskalis supported the purchase, transport and installation of 90 MOSES units at Shimoni, Kenya, which will be used for coral restoration and habitat monitoring purposes. The ecological performance of these modular concrete units will be monitored and compared to existing artificial reef structures already present, including MAT structures, bottle reefs amongst others.

Innovations for sustainability

What drives Boskalis to develop innovations
focusing on sustainability and ecology?

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Contact information

For more information about our Artificial Reefs Program, please contact Paul Peters
(Program Lead and Environmental Engineer).

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