What’s a Reef Ball you ask?

[information from Clean Foundation website] 

Let’s see what Clean Foundation has to say about how Reef Balls help with the marine habitat in the Halifax Harbour! 

Watch the Lords of the Ocean TV Series Season 1 Episode 4 “Batten Down the Hatches” to see them in action on the History Channel. On-Demand through Bell Five, Shaw or Eastlink. 

Marine reef balls are fabricated on-site at Dominion Diving location Duck Rock in Dartmouth NS; and are artificial reef structures used to create or restore marine habitat.


They are used around the world for a variety of applications including:

  • habitat enhancement/environmental offsets
  • impact mitigation
  • coral rehabilitation
  • shoreline protection
  • creating new fishing/diving/snorkelling sites


Designed by the US-based Reef Ball Foundation, reef balls come in ten different sizes ranging from the size of a basketball to the size of a car, which allows flexibility for individual projects. The Clean Foundation’s reef ball casts produce structures which are approximately 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide.


All reef balls are made with pH-neutral concrete that is cast with specialized surface features to enhance coral and algal settlement. Each reef ball is expected to last approximately 500 years. They do not leach toxins into the water, and do not contain biologically active compounds.

Why are artificial reefs necessary?

Near the shorelines, coastal development can have a detrimental effect on coastal habitats, leading to a decline in the health of marine ecosystems.

Artificial reefs are designed to create or restore marine habitat by fostering the growth of an ecosystem that supports fish and shellfish populations. In addition to providing shelter and protection to fish species, artificial reefs support the growth of marine plants, like algae or seaweed, which are foundational species in these ecosystems. They also serve as habitat for spawning and reproduction in many types of fish and shellfish – critical to the success of a rebuilding population. 


Why Reef Balls?

Artificial reefs are not a new idea. Around the world various artificial structures are used to create reefs, but not all materials and designs are equal. Although well intended, some of these structures can actually harm the environment by leaking toxic chemicals or introducing biologically active compounds such as copper, iron, zinc, chromium, or fertilizers. This often happens when artificial reefs are built from materials of opportunity such as old cars, boats, or other large structures.

Among the artificial marine reef designs that are environmentally friendly, some are more effective than others. The composition of certain materials can promote the growth of some species over others, creating a thriving but unbalanced ecosystem. Other materials are short-lived or highly vulnerable to damage from the heavy currents that often come hand in hand with strong storms. Furthermore, some artificial reefs are better designed to promote and sustain marine plants and animals than others.

After evaluating a wide range of options, Clean Foundation selected reef balls as the strongest artificial reef design for the Nova Scotian marine environment. Reef balls are designed specifically for supporting life in the ocean and are currently one of the most widely used designs for an artificial reef system in the world. They do not leach toxins into the water and do not contain biologically active compounds. The stability and longevity of the structures also makes them ideal for marine habitat restoration work.

Of most importance, however, is the physical design of the marine reef balls, which creates habitat and space for sea life while also promoting circulation and maximizing exposure to sunlight. In combination, these features make reef balls the ideal structure for artificial reefs in Atlantic Canada.

There have been hundreds of scientific studies supporting the efficacy of the reef ball design, which are the most widely used human-designed artificial reef systems in the world. Over one and a half million reef ball modules have been deployed in over 4,000 projects. International projects include:

  • designed artificial reefs
  • ground breaking coral propagation and planting systems
  • habitat enhancement
  • estuary restoration
  • red mangrove plantings
  • oyster reef restoration
  • erosion control (primarily beach erosion) 


What do Reef Balls Look Like?


The Pallet Reef Balls are hollow structures with holes throughout, which keep the ball stable on the sea floor and provide sea life access to the protective interior. The holes also create eddies in the water, which help circulate nutrients to the species living on and within the structure.

Serena Dorothy and Larae Davies you are making all Nova Scotians proud! Thank you for allowing Dominion Diving to be a part of restoring life to the harbour!






Ocean innovators will soon have a new place to work and collaborate, with the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship, known as COVE, set to open this spring.

Five companies have signed tenant agreements for the new ocean hub located on the former Coast Guard site on the Dartmouth waterfront.

“COVE will help propel our ocean economy and give innovators the support they need to build great companies,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “Nova Scotia has a world-class ocean sector and COVE and the ocean supercluster initiative will significantly increase our share of the global ocean economy and create jobs here at home, benefiting all Nova Scotians.”

“COVE will be a catalyst for economic growth in Nova Scotia and far beyond,” said Jennifer Angel, acting president and CEO, Waterfront Development Corporation Ltd. “Construction is nearly complete and we look forward to welcoming the world to COVE this spring.”

Other companies confirmed to work out of COVE include:
– Kraken Robotics Inc, a marine technology company that designs sensors for unmanned underwater vehicles
– Sensor Technology Ltd., a designer and manufacturer of piezoelectric ceramic products
– LeeWay Marine, a marine services company that helps others conduct hydrographic and geographical surveying by supplying vessels and crew
– Dominion Diving, a marine services company specializing in commercial diving and marine towing

Six ocean start-ups will also move into COVE’s Start-Up Yard incubator and receive business acceleration support from Innovacorp. They are:
– Ashored Innovations, an ocean company developing intelligent buoy systems that provide ropeless fishing solutions for improved operational safety and wildlife protection
– BlueNode, a company that simplifies data collection, analysis and visualization for the maritime logistics industry
– Happy Fish Technologies, a company developing a traceability system for seafood producers and distributors
– Marecomms, a company developing underwater acoustic systems enabling wireless communications over long distances
– Maritime BioLoggers, a company developing customizable, multi-channel data collection sensors to better assess animal movement in harsh environments
– Atlantian Acoustics, a company developing acoustic platform enabling wireless communications for autonomous underwater vehicles

COVE will host an exclusive preview for tenants, partners and other community members in early June.

Robin Lohnes, CEO of Dominion Diving Limited, accepts an engraved barometer presented by Patrick Bohan from the Port of Halifax to commemorate the inaugural port visit of the Dominion Warrior.

The Dominion Warrior is now home at her berth in Dartmouth Cove with the remainder of Dominion Diving’s fleet.


The Dutch heavy lift ship Stellaprima is en route from Gibraltar for Halifax carrying the latest addition to the Dominion Diving fleet.

Read the full article here.

Dominion Diving launches the “Swiss Army Knife” of marine support vessels…

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The Bay of Fundy boasts the largest tides in the world, reaching up to an extreme range of 17 metres (55.7 feet). This tidal range combined with 9300km2 of covered area creates a tidal flow of 160 billion tonnes of water per tide cycle twice daily, which is more than the flow of all the worlds fresh water rivers combined! Read more

Dominion Diving Limited is pleased to announce the newest addition to its fleet, the cargo carrying tug “DOMINION WARRIOR”. The Warrior will arrive in Halifax mid March 2018 or earlier, weather permitting. She will be arriving on the Heavy Load Carrier Stellaprima operated by Jumbo Shipping.

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