French dig up tyre reefs

The concept of tyre reefs – undersea tyre structures designed to encourage coral and other sea-life – has fallen out of favour with the French authorities. Ahead of the Cannes film festival the divers are now busily retrieving the tyres.

According to a report in The Telegraph, the tyres were dropped in the Mediterranean near Cannes in the 1980s. The structure was arranged in piles or rows to a depth of around 30 metres. Hundreds of thousands tyres were sent to the seabed. But it doesn’t seem to have gone down well.

The report suggests that “the well-intentioned plan proved to be almost entirely useless, as nothing but a few incredibly hardy sponges took to the tyres. Fish ended up plumping for natural rock or concrete structures sunk for the same purpose.”

In addition currents “ended up dispersing the tyre reefs, with thousands piling up, crushing coral and plant life and blighting the seabed”.

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