Removing Barriers While Building Barriers: An Entrepreneur Saving Our Seas

How one really smart product is making it easy for consumers to help Mother Nature.


David Wolff, of Ocean Habitats Inc. is making entrepreneurship and product launching look easy. There are so many elements to a successful launch, and I want to use their most recent launch as a guideline to show how, when you solve a problem and remove big barriers, the marketplace is much more accepting.

Say Hello to the Mini Reef

The team at Ocean Habitats has developed an artificial habitat system, called a “Mini Reef” that establishes an ecosystem of aquatic life under boat docks. Their mini reef mimics mother nature and the environment that is normally found in the prop root system of mangrove trees. The initial phase of this launch was as a nonprofit push to help restore some of the natural environment that was wiped out in the 50’s and 60’s from large scale coastal development. In conjunction with the City of Marco in 2016, 25 mini reefs were installed on a test canal (hello market proof) and the results were stunning.

Efficacy Sells

Each of the mini reefs develops its own ecosystem by initiating a process that is conducive to the marine life. First, small shrimp and baby fish use the structure as a safe place to avoid predators, which encourages other residents to drop in. Over 150 different kinds of filter feeders, like oysters and sea squirts, grow on the mini reef, and spend their days eating the green plankton out of the water passing by. Here’s a few other fun facts for you:
  • A fully developed mini reef can clean the plankton out of 30,000 gallons of seawater, on average.

  • Currently, all of the mini reefs installed are filtering over 3.1 million gallons of water every single day.

  • The waste products from these filter feeders is a food source for small marine animals, which in turn are food for those same baby shrimp, crabs and fish which started using the mini reef for protection.

  • A mini food chain is set up which brings larger fish around a dock with a mini reef looking for a meal.

  • Over the course of a year, residents with these mini reefs report seeing young goliath groupers, barracuda, snapper and many more fish species visiting and sometimes taking up residence under their dock.

  • To date, over 50 types of fish have been seen in or around the mini reefs as well as blue and stone crabs.

Read the original INC article published on August 1, 2019.