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1000 Mermaids Artificial Reef Project

Florida-based artists Ernest Vasquez and Sierra Rasberry have been the pioneering spirits behind Miami Body Cast Studio. Their unique art creations have led them to work with dozens of models, social media influencers and celebrities on many collaborative art projects.

The 1,000 Mermaids Artificial Reef Project & Gallery of 1000 Mermaids is a monumental public Eco-Art project in the form of an artificial reef installation that will also serve as an underwater eco-friendly destination for tourism & research.

These unique creations start with a body cast of a model, which is then rendered into limestone-rich, calcium-carbonate enhanced concrete. Miami Body Cast has set a goal to create 1,000 body sculptures created from this eco-friendly and sustainable concrete which allows infant coral to adhere to it and restore Florida’s living coral reef population.

Mermaid Cast by Sierra Rasberry
Mermaid Cast by Sierra Rasberry

Each cast will be individually handcrafted by the artists that make up Miami Body Cast in collaboration with their reef-building partner Chris O’Hare of Reef Cells and then strategically laid along the ocean of Florida’s east coast.

The mermaid statues will be integrated into multi-tiered artificial reef forms that are designed to allow maximum coral growth and are certified sea-turtle safe, with openings large enough to allow unimpeded passage to these beloved sea creatures.

Coral Lok coral frag plugs.
Coral Lok coral frag plugs.

The artificial reef modules will contain hundreds of Coral Lok plugs. These coral fasteners can immediately attach a living coral to a coral reef with a simple twist. The screw-shaped base of the Coral Lok frag plug is designed to easily and securely mate into the female threaded Coral Lok receiver. The coral is fixed and ready to grow over the plug base and onto the reef rock.

“Mermaids have long been a symbol of humans’ connection to the Ocean. Our plan is to cast real people and sculpt them into artificial reef sculptures that will be strategically placed along the ocean floor with the help of local government environmental agencies. The planned locations for the Artificial reef modules are perpendicular with the tour boat excursions off Fort Lauderdale beach.” 1,000 Mermaids Artificial Reef Project

For divers, the planned reefs will offer valuable fish and sea life aggregation, as well as a unique and artistic dive destination just off the incredible South Florida coast. The 3,500 pounds (1,500 kilos) modules won’t all sport a mermaid statue, but…they might sport a statue of you or a loved one! The 1,000 Mermaids Artificial Reef Project website has a handy sign-up form to put in your name to be cast as a mermaid! In addition, there are opportunities to sponsor the project and donate to this incredible conservation project. 1,000 Mermaids has sponsorship opportunities available to dedicate a reef in someone’s name, family name, or company name. With a cost of approximately $7,500 USD per module, this project is seeking 501c3 Non-Profit Status and much-needed sponsorship.

The artists hired a group of certified divers to video general observations of marine life and to make sure there are no natural reefs around their anticipated drop site between the W Fort Lauderdale and the Lauderdale by the Sea pier. The footage helped them gain approval from Broward County’s Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to assure it is safe for sea-life.

For more information on how you can become involved, visit the website at

John Griffith
John Griffith
John Griffith is an avid SCUBA and Freediver based in Southeast Florida, with over 34 years of experience in the recreational, military and commercial dive fields. Retired from military service, John completed Bachelor Degrees in both Business Administration and Journalism, a M.Ed and PhD in Education. John is a driven conservationist and social activist...with a great passion for sharks, cigars, rum and writing. John is an Associate Editor with