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An artificial reef is a submerged (or partly exposed to tides) structure deliberately placed on the seabed to mimic some functions of a natural reef, such as protecting, regenerating, concentrating and/or enhancing populations of living marine resources. This includes the protection and regeneration of habitats. It will serve as habitat that functions as part of the natural ecosystem while doing ‘no harm’ (FAO, 2015).
The term excludes artificial islands, cables, pipelines, platforms, mooring, and structures for coastal defence (e.g. breakwaters, dikes, etc.) which are primarily constructed for other purposes, as well as the fish aggregation devices (FADs) employed to merely attract fish in certain fishing areas.