The Louisiana Artificial Reef Program was established in 1986 to take advantage of obsolete oil and gas platforms which were recognized as providing habitat important to many of Louisiana's coastal fishes. Federal law and international treaty require these platforms to be removed one year after production ceases. The removal of these platforms results in a loss of reef habitat.
What is Rigs-to-Reefs and how does it relate to the mission of the Minerals Management Service (MMS)?
Rigs-to-Reefs is a term used for converting obsolete, nonproductive offshore oil and gas structures to designated artificial reefs. From research and assessment of the environmental effects of oil and gas leasing and development, the MMS has documented a profound and pervasive connection between fish, fishing, and oil and gas structures in the marine environment.
Rigs-to-reefs is the heart of the Texas Artificial Reef Program. It primarily involves the recycling of obsolete petroleum platforms into permanent artificial reefs rather than allowing them to be taken ashore as scrap. Rigs make ideal artificial reefs because they are environmentally safe, are constructed of highly durable and stable material that withstands displacement or breakup and already support a thriving reef ecosystem.
The Gulf of Mexico lack natural reefs. Not long after platforms first appeared in the Gulf, fishermen found that they caught more fish near platforms. Subsequent research found that the platforms act as artificial reefs, attracting and enhancing fish populations.
Despite being united last month in opposition to a proposed state House bill that seeks to give “game fish” status to three species, the Pender County commissioners have agreed to take another look at the issue during Monday's meeting.
Gulf red snapper saga continues
The long history of upside-down federal management of Gulf red snapper continued this week with NOAA Fisheries announcing more good news about the health of the fishery contrasted against the shortest recreational season on record: just 48 days. Coastal Conservation Association has warned that such absurd measures are inevitable until the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council conducts a reallocation of the fishery based on modern criteria.
Formal written comments on the Priority Objectives of the National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lake
The recreational fishing and boating community is anxious to engage in the National Ocean Policy development to insure our community is adequately represented in this significant policymaking process.
Pender County commissioners on April 4 voted unanimously to pass a resolution opposing House Bill 353, which would grant gamefish status to several saltwater fish species.
The fight over three species of popular fish is heating up along the coast and in the state capital, but it remains uncertain whether the General Assembly will take action on the “game fish” issue this year.