Florida Aquatic & Marine

Hello and thanks for visiting our website, www.gulfreefs.org. the official web home of the Florida Aquatic & Marine Institute.  My name is Danny Grizzard and I moved to Florida from North Alabama in the mid-1970’s.  As a NAUI SCUBA instructor and Coast Guard licensed charter boat captain I developed an interest in artificial reefs over 25 years ago.  I spent many years working with troubled kids and during that time I remained connected to the SCUBA and charter industry.  My community service leaned toward artificial reefs and since 1976 I have been involved with or supervised the deployment of over 100 artificial reef sites in the Panama City area and several others in Jacksonville and Miami.  The local sites as far back as the GREY GHOST in 1978 through the FAMI TUGS in 2003.  I served as the primary spotter for the Hathaway Bridge project in 1988 and was on site many other local reefs including:  USS STRENGTH, BLACK BART, BJ PUTNAM, CHIPPEWA, LCAC, 12 different barges and many others.  This involvement has given me a perspective of what works and how fast they work.   

Most people know that the bottom offshore of the Panhandle is vast and barren.  Without cover, the various fish populations have little hope to grow and prosper.  For many, an even more important consideration is the economic impact of fishing and diving the many sites.  With more and more people buying and chartering boats the pressure grows each year.  A recent economic study place a value of near 300 million dollars on the local reef system and indicated that there is an annual value of almost $30 million dollars attributable to artificial reefs.   

In the summer of 2000 I started FAMI for the sole purpose of giving people an avenue to get involved in developing  more and better artificial reefs.  As 501 c 3 non-profit people now have a place to channel their efforts and energies toward making a difference for the future.  In 1978 using volunteer help and less than $500 I was able to put the GREY GHOST on the bottom.  We were pretty sure then that it would still be productive in 30 years but now we know for sure.  To do a similar project today would take between $75,000 and $100,000 dollars.   

We need your help.  Please direct interested sponsors and donors to this effort now.  As soon as we build a local source of income we can again become a player in the grant process.  Our goal for 2009 is to get a new shallow permit in place and begin targeting a large scale project that can generate interest to kick off our efforts.