New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the deployment of the steel barge “Shannon C” on the Shinnecock Reef as part of the State’s ongoing efforts to enrich New York’s network of artificial reefs. This continued effort is helping to develop a stronger, more diverse marine ecosystem that will provide enhanced shelter for fish and other marine life off New York’s shores.
“This latest successful addition to the Shinnecock Artificial Reef helps connect a bit of the region’s maritime past with Long Island’s economic future,” Commissioner Seggos said. “The Shannon C will enjoy her retirement as the newest attraction for marine life and the anglers and divers who seek a thrill. DEC is excited about this addition to the reef and continuing to advance New York State’s efforts to improve marine habitat.”
The Shannon C is a 60-foot, steel deck barge built in 1973, formerly berthed in East Hampton and owned by DJ Whelan Corp. The Shannon C was used for more than 30 years in the marine construction business, building docks, bulkheads, and revetments, launching ramps, and dredging throughout the waterways of Long Island, Hudson River, New York City, Fishers Island, Plum Island, Connecticut, and beyond. The barge also served as a launching platform for local firework events in Westhampton Beach, East Hampton, and Shelter Island.
Mary Whelan, owner of Shannon C, said, “The barge Shannon C was named after our daughter Shannon. Shannon grew up on the water and enjoyed sailing, boating, fishing, surfing, or simply being near the ocean. It’s fitting that her namesake will become part of Shinnecock Artificial Reef and, over time, provide valuable marine habitat and enjoyment for others who adore the ocean just like she did.”
DEC manages the State’s 12 artificial reefs, which include two reefs in Long Island Sound, two in the Great South Bay, and eight in the Atlantic Ocean. Since 2018, New York State’s Artificial Reef Program has deployed a total of 521 cubic yards of Tappan Zee Bridge materials, 200 tons of New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) steel pipe, columns, beams, girders and trusses, one New York Canal Corporation steel barge, two New York Canal Corporation vessels, and seven steel centerbeam railcars on Shinnecock Reef. All materials were deployed under the guidance of the DEC Reef Program to ensure they are safely cleaned of contaminants prior to joining the reef.
DEC’s Artificial Reef Program is popular with local fishermen and divers and helps to support the Long Island economy. Additional patch reef creation through material deployments will increase the use and enjoyment of these valuable New York State resources. Anglers and divers who access the artificial reefs support local businesses through the purchase of fuel, bait and tackle, marine equipment, and by using for hire party/charter and dive vessels. New York’s marine resources are critical to the state’s economy, supporting nearly 350,000 jobs and generating billions of dollars through tourism, fishing and other industries. More than 500,000 anglers in the region reap the benefits of New York’s artificial reefs, supporting the region’s growing marine economy which accounts for approximately 9.7 percent of Long Island’s total GDP.
In August 2021, DEC deployed the vessel Big Time on Fire Island Reef. Big Time is a 55-foot steel luxury Feadshipcruiser Showboat built in 1956 and was donated by its owner Peter Taubler. In November 2020, the Artificial Reef Program deployed 16, 75-foot steel rail cars donated by Wells Fargo on Fire Island Reef; 59 additional rail cars were deployed on five other reef sites.
Anglers in New York State marine waters are required to enroll in the New York Recreational Marine Fishing Registry. The Registry provides important information for setting quotas, size and bag limits, and fishing seasons each year. More information on the Registry can be found on the DEC website or by contacting DEC’s Marine Fishing Access Unit at (631) 444-0438.
Reef construction is part of the “NY is Open for Fishing and Hunting” Initiative, an effort to improve recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism opportunities throughout the state. For more information about DEC’s Artificial Reef Program visit DEC’s website.