Statement on Tires as Artificial Reefs For Malaysia by Dr. Bill Alevizon, A Scientific Expert on Artificial Reefs



I have conducted research on artificial reefs in marine environments for
the last twenty years, and have published a number of peer-reviewed
articles on this subject, including one currently in press.  I also served
as a consultant to the Department of Fisheries, Government of Malaysia some
years ago with the assignment of reviewing their entire national artificial
reef program.

Among the recommendations made to Malaysia Fisheries in my final report
(1990), are the following comments, which I also respectfully wish
submitted into the record for your deliberations on this matter:

(1) "Of all materials now in reasonably common use in the construction of
artificial reefs, automobile tires are by far the least satisfactory,
particularly in ocean environments.  There are several reasons for this but
the most pressing is that arrays of tires, no matter how constructed, have
proven highly unstable structures in the sea.  They are inherently of low
specific gravity, which gives them a propensity to shift under relatively
slight conditions of water movement. This continual movement eventually
defeats whatever binding method has been used to join these elements
together.  In large storms, tire arrays can be (and have been) moved
considerable distances, only to eventually break apart.  The individual
tires then become undersea juggernauts wreaking havoc on sensitive benthic
habitats for many years."

(2) "In terms of forming substrate for colonization by marine life, tires
are also the least satisfactory material, often becoming covered by a
"community" consisting of little more than filamentous algae.  Their
relatively uniform smooth surface (and perhaps texture) appears to make
them far less attractive to marine life than materials such as concrete or
rock, whose properties more closely resemble the materials that form most
natural reefs."

(3) "It is recommended that the use of automobile tires in the construction
of artificial reefs be immediately discontinued, in favor of more suitable
materials.  Automobile-tire artificial reefs should be properly considered
a threat - not a benefit - to the cause of fisheries or habitat enhancement
in the marine environment."

  I point out that the State of California (Dept. of Fish and Game) came to
essentially the same conclusion after testing a variety of materials in
test reefs constructed in Santa Monica Bay circa 1960.

Thank you for considering my comments.


William Alevizon, Ph.D.
Research Associate
Wildlife Conservation Society