The Defender, a decommissioned vessel previously operated on behalf of Canadian giant Cooke Inc.'s harvesting and fishmeal processing subsidiary Omega Protein, was sunk last week off the coast of Louisiana, Accesswire reported.

The vessel will serve as an artificial reef for the benefit of the Gulf's diverse marine eco-system, the company said.

The aim of the sinking is for the vessel to become a marine habitat, promoting biodiversity and creating recreational fishing and diving opportunities in the Gulf of Mexico.

Omega Protein has a track record of working with state agencies and non-profit organizations to offer decommissioned vessels to artificial reef programs.

The Defender, previously owned by Ocean Harvesters and operated on behalf of Omega Protein, was donated to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) under its its artificial reef initiative.

In a similar project in 2015, the company sunk the decommissioned the Barataria Bay in partnership with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, also to create an artificial reef.

In 2009, the company sunk the retired Great Wicomico, a 176-foot vessel, also for a reef project.

Cooke acquired Omega Protein in 2017 in a deal valued at approximately $500 million (€427 million).