National Fisherman

A program benefiting the marine environment of the Gulf of Mexico by recycling retired natural gas and oil structures as artificial reefs, would enhance fish habitat benefiting recreational and commercial fishermen, scuba divers and Gulf communities.
The Gulf of Mexico lacks natal reefs. Rigs-to-Reefs is a nationwide program to turn decommissioned offshore oil and petroleum rigs into artificial reefs developed by the former Minerals Management Service, now Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
In 1938 Pure and Superior Oil companies built the first freestanding drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico designed by Houston’s Brown & Root Marine. The 320-foot by 180-foot freestanding wooden deck stood in 14-feet of water about a mile offshore from Creole, LA.
With the appearance of that first Gulf rig, fishermen found they caught more fish near platforms. Subsequent research over the decades has determined the platforms act as artificial reefs, attracting and enhancing fish populations.
Read the full story at Gulf Seafood News>>

Inside the Industry

NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.


A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.

Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species,  allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.

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