Can artificial reef wrecks reduce diver impacts on shipwrecks? the management dimension

Document Type


Publication details

Edney, J & Spennemann, DHR 2015, 'Can artificial reef wrecks reduce diver impacts on shipwrecks? The management dimension', Journal of Maritime Archaeology, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 141-157.

Published version available from:


Peer Reviewed



Managers have been advocating the use of artificial reef wrecks to diversify the experiences of recreational divers and thereby reduce the well-known impact on reefs. To examine whether artificial reef wrecks can serve as substitutes for historic shipwrecks this paper discusses the attitude of Australian divers to wreck diving in general and to artificial reef wrecks in particular. While the overwhelming majority of divers surveyed accepted the need for control, the experienced divers were less interested in artificial reef wrecks and less prepared to tolerate controls over their perceived freedom to dive wrecks. We present projections that show that this legacy issue will have largely resolved itself by 2025 due to attrition and natural ageing.