If there’s one thing that the federal government has told Gulf fishermen for more than a decade, it’s that our most popular fish is in danger of overfishing. The government has even gone so far as to impose extreme catch restrictions that border on the absurd. That’s what makes a recent video showing the destruction of Red Snapper at the direction of the federal government all the more bizarre and infuriating.
A letter from the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar calling for a moratorium on rig removals due to the federal government’s Idle Iron policy will carry the signatures of 20 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, an impressive bi-partisan display of concern for marine habitat in the Gulf of Mexico.
More than three thousand offshore oil and gas platforms currently stand in the Gulf of Mexico. Federal regulations have long required companies to remove everything from the sea once a well ceases production, and over the past several decades, hundreds of structures have been toppled into deep water or towed to shore to become scrap metal.
WASHINGTON, DC – At a breakfast briefing hosted by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation this morning, Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) presented the concerns of the recreational angling community over the Department of Interior’s controversial Idle Iron directive and closed by inviting fellow Congressmen to sign onto a letter requesting a moratorium on rig removals.
As a result of consistent pressure and engagement by Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) and its partners, language that begins to address the critical issue of Gulf rig and platform removals has been included in the Sportsmen's Act of 2012. Congressional Sportsman Caucus Chairs Senators Jon Tester (D-Mt) and John Thune (R-SD) introduced the Sportsmen's Act of 2012 as an amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill (S. 3240) this week.
A coalition of marine conservation, tackle and boating industry groups is calling for a halt to the
federal government’s destructive “Idle Iron” policy that threatens to dismantle what is regarded as the
largest artificial reef system in the world. In a letter to U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar,
the coalition calls for a moratorium to prevent the Idle Iron Policy from inflicting further irreparable
damage on an extensive range of marine fisheries and ecosystems.
In the latest display of opposition to an unpopular federal directive, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tx) is calling for the Department of Interior to reconsider its Idle Iron policy that stands to dismantle critical marine habitats in the Gulf of Mexico. The Idle Iron directive, issued by the Department in the immediate aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, orders non-producing oil and gas rigs and other structures in offshore waters to be removed within five years of the issuance of the directive.
In a letter to U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Texas Governor Rick Perry is calling for a review of the federal government’s “Idle Iron” policy that threatens to dismantle what is regarded as the largest artificial reef system in the world. In the letter, Perry says that the policy, which orders non-producing oil and gas rigs and other structures in offshore waters to be removed within five years of the issuance of the directive, will have profound negative implications for marine fisheries and the local coastal communities and businesses that rely on the fishing opportunities that these structures provide in the Gulf.
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX - A request to have the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council begin the process of classifying rigs and other vital artificial reefs as Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) was unanimously approved by the Council at its April meeting in Corpus Christi, Texas.
One of the goals of the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), our primary federal fisheries law, is the identification and protection of Essential Fish Habitat (EFH). The goal is laudable enough since sufficient habitat is key to the health of all our fisheries.
The U.S. Department of the Interior wants to blow up living coral reefs in the Gulf of Mexico. That’s not a joke — far from it. A ruling issued by DOI requires oil companies to destroy and remove decommissioned oil platforms from the Gulf within five years.
CORPUS CHRISTI — While federal fisheries managers are expected to impose the shortest red snapper season on record this summer another federal agency has estimated it will kill tens of thousands of the coveted pink fish with explosives used to remove about 120 offshore platforms this year alone in the Gulf of Mexico.
A motion made at the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meeting last week in Mobile, Alabama, could be the first step to protecting what has been regarded as the largest man-made reef in the world – the vast forest of energy-related structures in the offshore waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Bob Shipp’s request to have Council staff clarify the definition of what qualifies as artificial structure could pave the way for rigs and other vital reefs to be classified as Essential Fish Habitat.
Most of us can cite some "seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time" plan gone awry. Such appears the case with that part of the Magnuson Act requiring catch limits be set for all federally managed fish stock by the end of this year.
Fisheries issues are rarely this black and white. Most of the things we debate in fisheries management revolve around murky models and shifty statistics. All too often, politics and fisheries science are woven together into a perfect bird's nest of confusion, producing baffling regulations and counter-intuitive policies.
Coastal Conservation Association is applauding Sen. David Vitter (R-La) for legislation filed today that will prevent rigs and other structures from being summarily removed from the Gulf of Mexico.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Help Protect Gulf Marine Habitat - Support S.1555/H.R. 3429 Send a message to your members of Congress today urging them to support legislation to protect marine habitat and leave unused oil and gas structures in the Gulf of Mexico as artificial reefs.
As recorded by Dr. Love’s submarine cam — and no, that’s not something from an Austin Powers movie — it’s an underwater world as colorful as any exotic locale. Thousands of rockfish, including the distinctive boccacia (Italian for “big mouth”) swim past tall colonnades layered with mussels and topped by bright white-, orange- and strawberry-hued anemones.