Yarmouth artificial reef

The Yarmouth artificial reef is the first of its kind permitted in Massachusetts. The reef provides a habitat for the different fish species in the area.

About the reef

The Town of Yarmouth's Department of Natural Resources developed the reef in 1978 with help from the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF). The 127-acre site is located over 2 miles south of Bass River. The reef is made up of individual reef units. Each unit consists of 3 to 5 tires filled with concrete. Units are strapped together in bundles. There are currently 2500 reef units in the area. This design of this reef provides desirable habitat for finfish and lobsters in an otherwise featureless area.

Yarmouth artificial reef site

In 2010, DMF conducted an extensive side-scan sonar and diver site survey of the Yarmouth reef. Results from the survey include;

  • Little to no structural movement of materials outside the permitted area
  • The northern most part of the site had the highest density of deployed materials
  • High numbers of scup and black sea bass in the area
  • More fish in areas with more reef materials

Current status of the reef

DMF and the Town of Yarmouth jointly received permits to reopen the Yarmouth reef site for extra reef materials in 2014. New material deployment consisted of approved materials of similar vertical relief. These materials targeted areas on site where divers found low concentrations of materials.

Today, you can find a wide variety of life on this reef including;

  • Black sea bass
  • Blue mussel
  • Blue runner
  • Butterfish 
  • Cunner 
  • Knobbed whelk
  • Lesser amberjack
  • Lobster 
  • Longfin squid 
  • Northern sea bass 
  • Scup 
  • Summer flounder 
  • Tautog 
  • Winter flounder

Additional Resources

Contact   for Yarmouth artificial reef


DMF Staff Directory View 


(617) 727-3337


Gloucester Field Office
30 Emerson Avenue, Gloucester, MA 01930

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