Europe’s first artificial reef

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Marine life off the South Coast is set to be enriched by Europe’s first artificial surf reef, construction of which began today.

The Bournemouth reef, one of only four in the world, has been eagerly anticipated by the hordes of surfers who descend on the stretch of sandy coastline at the merest hint of a swell. But it will also be a boon for fish populations, which ecologists say will find a perfect home among the molluscs and corals that are expected to colonise the two and a half acre construction.

Dr Kerry Black, the designer of the reef at Boscombe beach, says the coastline will also benefit, as the reef will suck power out of waves before they hit the beach. Coastal erosion is a significant problem in the area.

Meanwhile the congregation of diverse marine species is expected to turn the reef into one of the South Coast’s diving hotspots.

Though construction of the