artificial reefs in europe have been developed over the last 40 yrs. most of these reefs have been placed in the mediterranean sea, but there is an increasing interest on the part of northern european countries. fish stock enhancement and fishery management are the main purposes of reef construction in the mediterranean sea and on the atlantic coast of the iberian peninsula, while nature conservation/restoration, research, and recreation have been the main purposes served in the other european regions to date. artificial reef deployment falls under some general regulations concerning the protection of the sea against pollution due to the dumping of unsuitable materials. specific regional plans relating to the use of artificial reefs in the marine environment and guidelines for reef construction have been derived from these general regulations. in spite of recent developments, national and/or regional programs for the deployment of artificial reefs and/or their inclusion in overall management plans for integrated management of coastal zones are in force only in the majority of mediterranean countries, while only a few projects have, to date, been undertaken in the other european regions. moreover, there is a noteworthy lack of plans, in many countries, for the management of the reefs after their deployment.