Red snapper massacre on the rigs

FS JeffFS Jeff Posts: 373 Moderator

CCA has been fighting to keep the old rigs in place in the northern Gulf.

We've all been fighting to keep red snapper fishing open.

Now, the feds are blasting the rigs into history--and taking many fish with them.
Jeff Weakley
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Replies

  • Riptide31Riptide31 Posts: 478 Deckhand
    Hard to believe. The least they could do is have some commercial fishermen there to harvest the ones that float to the top. You'd think they could just cut the top 30' off and let it go to the ocean floor, where it would make more wonderful fish habitat. This needs to be stopped. NOW.
  • Someone needs to lose their job.

    If NMF agents caught a recreational fisherman killing those fish, they'd lock him up.
    "If I can't win, I won't play." - Doris Colecchio.

    "Well Gary, the easiest way to look tall is to stand in a room full of short people." - Curtis Bostick

    "All these forums, with barely any activity, are like a neglected old cemetery that no one visits anymore."- anonymouse
  • EggsuckindogEggsuckindog Posts: 1,528 Officer
    or even picking them up after they killed them - thats even dumber

    kinda like them cooking up a big fat porterhouse, passing it around for everybody to look at, then dumping it in the trash
    1976 SeaCraft master Angler - Merc 200 XRi
    dscf1243-1.jpg
  • Capt BloodCapt Blood Posts: 184 Officer
    Saw a presentation by Apache Oil at the last Sport Fish and Boating Partnership Council Meeting. Was surprised to hear them say they didn't want a moratorium on rig removal. They said it costs a ton to keep em painted and apply zinc anodes and they essentially are like any other mechanical thing, they have a useful life and need to be decommissioned. Ted Venker with CCA was there.

    There are hydraulic shears that can be used to cut the rigs and avoid the snapper deaths cause by explosives but not surprising explosives are cheaper. The issue of cutting them off well below the water line was brought up but if memory serves it was the liability issues that still remain for the oil companies and that it's even harder (costly) to service the remaining structure with anodes. Bottom line, the remaining structure will eventually fail and when it does the company would be liable if it affected natural habitat or got moved by waves or surge and some other mishap (i.e. vessel strike) happened.

    Apache noted if they could get granted sites within 3-5 miles of a rig to anchor the structure to the bottom, they could make artificial reefs, anything further than that it was more cost effective to haul the old rig to shore and sell it for scrap. Of course the cost of hydraulic shears would likely move things toward all rigs coming to shore for scrap to recover as much of the cost as possible.

    I was surprised by where the oil companies stood on the removals, issue was pretty darn complicated as they dug into the weeds on it.
    "...forced to become a pirate not for infamy and riches, but out of a rankling sense of injustice by the government leaders who have forsaken him..." -Rafael Sabatini-
  • rocketman1rocketman1 Posts: 187 Deckhand
    Stop the madness and destruction of habitat.
    Sent 100 emails today including my member of Congress and signed both petitions.

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/stop-idle-iron-program/FLDPVfZD

    http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-the-massacre-of-millions-of-reef-fish-as-a-biproduct-of-idle-iron


    DID YOU DO YOUR PART TO STOP THIS STUPIDITY? IF NOT, GET AFTER IT.

    NO HABITAT = NO FISH

    .
    NO HABITAT = NO FISH
  • Mackeral SnatcherMackeral Snatcher Posts: 10,922 AG
    Well this is embarrassing…
    We couldn't find the page you were looking for.

    Go back to our homepage.

    Appreciate the the effort.
    THERE SHOULD BE NO COMMERCIAL FISHING ALLOWED FOR ANY SPECIES THAT IS CONSIDERED OVERFISHED.
  • rocketman1rocketman1 Posts: 187 Deckhand
    Thanks Man, Cut and Paste error - fixed now.
    NO HABITAT = NO FISH
  • Capt BloodCapt Blood Posts: 184 Officer
    So....sign a petition that the oil industry doesn't want...and if the structures fail will cause damage to natural habitat? Sorry, yet that doesn't make sense. Maybe a petition for requiring hydraulic shears instead of explosives...what you're asking for is a wasted effort IMO...sorry brother, realize your heart is in the right place.
    "...forced to become a pirate not for infamy and riches, but out of a rankling sense of injustice by the government leaders who have forsaken him..." -Rafael Sabatini-
  • rocketman1rocketman1 Posts: 187 Deckhand
    Capt. Blood,

    Thanks for reading. Wish more fisherman would.

    I must elaborate.

    The issue is simply a question of the prudence of maintaining habitat. It can be done.

    The oil industry will follow the rules - and living in Houston, I support the industry.

    The regs require removal of 'idle non-producing platforms' post the BP spill. Typical Fed Govt with head up its **** over-reaction.

    We can debate the legitimacy of that until our heads explode, but it is our reality now.

    The rigs can be sheared without explosives and laid down in a marked field preserving the living coral with minimal disruption to the eco-system around these rigs. That is not debatable.

    So I am to conclude that you suggest 'no action' by us as fisherman? Are you kidding? Really?

    What must occur before we as citizens raise holy hell?

    Maybe this is not your issue, but I fear the same ridiculous Federal mentality WILL visit your backyard one day.

    Just think about it. And do 'something' about it.

    Doing 'nothing' frankly is no answer and doing nothing assures destruction of the habitat and the resource.
    NO HABITAT = NO FISH
  • Tom HiltonTom Hilton Posts: 1,582 Captain
    If the platform is sheared and laid over, the coral will die. A platform is a vertical reef, providing habitat for marine life extending from the very bottom to the surface. Different creatures require different parameters to live their life - some such as flounder live on the bottom. Some, such as corals, need to be within a certain distance of the surface (+_60 feet?) in order to receive the needed sunlight to survive - due to USCG regs, artificial structures deployed should not be within 85' of the surface.

    In a perfect world, we could get the liability transferred from the structures away from the oil companies and into a trust fund, thus leaving it in place and providing MAXIMUM benefit to the ecosystem. But, it's not a perfect world.

    I don't think we can stop the destruction of this round of 200+ rigs or so - perhaps we can stop the next round. In the meantime, there needs to be a Gulf-wide artificial reefing initiative designed specifically to offset the damage being done to the Gulf by the removal of this essential fish habitat associated with the oil platform removals.

    Capt. Thomas J. Hilton
  • Capt BloodCapt Blood Posts: 184 Officer
    I hear ya rocketman...the rigs are great places to target fish, I like that. I'm more a pragmatist and Tom's kinda right on this one.

    I remember old timers telling me that the days before sonar or any electronics, they would drag an anchor and when it stuck they likely found hard bottom and dropped lines. I'm not sayin go do that, just sayin that there is natural habitat out there, lots of it and that's part of learning the ropes in offshore fishing, finding your spots and managing them so they don't get wiped out.

    These pics and vids disgust me, just can't get past the issue that the rigs are a mechanical device, they will fail...making the appropriate course of action to be managing that failure so it does the least harm. The only solution I've heard is hydraulic shears and gulf wide habitat mapping so siting of decommissioned rigs as reefs can be done as close to the original site as possible, making it fiscally viable for the oil company (else they tow it to shore and sell the scrap metal).
    "...forced to become a pirate not for infamy and riches, but out of a rankling sense of injustice by the government leaders who have forsaken him..." -Rafael Sabatini-
  • rocketman1rocketman1 Posts: 187 Deckhand
    Capt Tom and Capt Blood. Good comments. Sadly, round appears to be lost.

    We do have some isolated old debris fields that produce snapper limits on knife jigs in 30 mins. Unmolested fish.

    But I ask you guys - isn't a rig on its side in 100 ft of water is better than a featureless sand bottom? A new eco system develops on the iron. A featureless sand bottom is all that is left after the 'rig killers' are done.

    I honestly cannot think of a dumber way to address the idle iron issue. Can you? The practice recklessly disrespects the resource and the habitat. The Navy routinely scuttles old vessels in marked areas. So there is a better way.

    Thanks for taking time. Please tell your buddies.
    NO HABITAT = NO FISH
  • Tom HiltonTom Hilton Posts: 1,582 Captain
    Rocketman,
    I attended the rigs to reefs meeting here in Houston a few months back - it was clear that regardless of whether the platform were designated EFH or not, it would not affect their authority to do whatever they please.

    I also believe that the enviros have been successful in placing a moratorium on and rigs to reefs action at this time.

    The artificial substrate AP that met recently basically abandoned the idea of designating the platforms as EFH, and recommended increasing artificial reefing as a means to mitigate the damage being done by the rig removals. I agree with that assessment.

    Capt. Thomas J. Hilton
  • rocketman1rocketman1 Posts: 187 Deckhand
    Capt Tom, Thanks.

    What is the enviro crowds objection to rigs to reefs?

    Do you have an idea of the relative economics of disposal options A, B or C to the operator?

    It seems clear that the current regs require removal if certain operating conditions are met.

    Naturally any operator of the field any will follow the law at the least possible cost - thus the use of explosives and hauling the structure inland for scrap value. So lets say that costs $X on average. Maybe someone who really knows can help us understand that cost.

    Then lets say 'we' (a non-profit conservation group, or the State, or CCA, or some combination) want the operator to donate the rig to a reef program. I wonder what the 'cost differential' would be with this approach vs the current practice.

    Can we appeal to the operators on a basis that makes economic sense? If successful, I would expect very positive goodwill to accrue to the benefit of the organization supporting the fishery.

    Thanks.
    NO HABITAT = NO FISH
  • Capt BloodCapt Blood Posts: 184 Officer
    In state waters like TX and LA that works, mainly the state accepts liability for the rig....if memory serves. That's the big issue in the EEZ, it's the taxpayers across the Nation that would be on the hook making it unlikely that reefing would happen in the EEZ.

    Ping Emily at the Fishery Council and see if Apache Oil did a presentation to the artificial substrate ap. If so, you want to check that out. The guy from a Apache gets into the details of what's cost effective.

    Finally, the featureless landscape likely isn't as featureless as you think. We target structure cause that's likely where keepers are. Just as important is sandy, shelley bottom for juveniles that IS NOT near structure. I posted a science piece on another post that gets into this issue of whether adding artificial structure near juvenile habitat is counter-productive.
    "...forced to become a pirate not for infamy and riches, but out of a rankling sense of injustice by the government leaders who have forsaken him..." -Rafael Sabatini-
  • Tom HiltonTom Hilton Posts: 1,582 Captain
    Capt. Blood,
    Seeing as how juvenile snapper have such a high natural mortality rate, what is your take on providing artificial structure that is specifically designed to improve their survivability?

    In addition, I am interested in your perspective in how artificial reefing areas, since they become de facto no trawl zones, provide refuge for would be "bycatch" and therefore are an important asset for juvenile survivability.

    Have you done any science pieces on that part of the equation?

    BTW, we target structure because that is where the fish live out their lives, feeding, mating - the very definition of essential fish habitat. It is irrelevant whether the structure is "natural" or "artificial", the effect is the same.

    Thanks in advance,
    Capt. Thomas J. Hilton
  • Capt BloodCapt Blood Posts: 184 Officer
    Hey tom, I'm no scientist, I like to read about the fishery and would put myself more in the conservation minded category so I find these things interesting. I mean I filleted my mahi's today but I also caught and released a sail too; that was actually my target species for today's trip. I don't fish for a living, it's my hobby and in a way I believe its my public trust resource and this a place I can talk with others about my opinions and thoughts on what I'd like to see done with it.

    I will say that I've seen tons o' money thrown at reefs, particularly old naval vessels that literally cost millions to prep for sinking. Just doesn't seem to make sense. I'd rather see that spent on getting more information and working to instill confidence in the assessments of the fisheries. In short, the millions that are spent to try and engineer the fishery seems like it could be spent more wisely to better understand it.
    Tom Hilton wrote: »
    BTW, we target structure because that is where the fish live out their lives, feeding, mating - the very definition of essential fish habitat.

    For example, I don't quite agree with that statement. Clearly we know that after spawning, larval stages are adrift and not related to structure. As well, it stands to reason that a 1 or 2 yr old snapper is not going to survive on a structure that an older fish would - they're too small and defenseless. Meaning, what seem like unimportant areas of the Gulf for fishing may actually be very critical to life stages of various species - that the dispersed nature of shell or other "mini structutre" per se is exactly what juveniles need to grow.

    That sequence of vids I mentioned previously about a loaded reef pre-season, wiped out at end of season and re-loaded next season leads me to believe even more that as those dispersed juveniles age, they migrate to structure where they can survive and forage to find enough food to grow to further life stages.
    "...forced to become a pirate not for infamy and riches, but out of a rankling sense of injustice by the government leaders who have forsaken him..." -Rafael Sabatini-
  • Tom HiltonTom Hilton Posts: 1,582 Captain
    Ok.

    So, ignore the basic questions asked. Specifically, placing artificial structure designed specifically to enhance the probability that juvies will survive or the de facto "bycatch refuges" created by artificial reefing areas that actually enhance, not detract, from the survivability of not only juvenile snapper, but a myriad of juvenile species.

    Yes, tons of money has been spent on artificial reefing structures. You may want to call the City of Orange Beach and ask them why they (used to have) a $50,000/year budget dedicated to artificial reefing - I am sure that they can tell you better than I could as to why they would dedicate that large of a chunk of taxpayer funds into such a "sinkhole".

    Or maybe you could explain how the Alabama reefing areas came to account for about 40% of ALL recreationally-caught red snapper in the ENTIRE Gulf of Mexico. If these reefs are simply attracting the fish, where are they coming from? Fact is, they are PRODUCING those fish, as red snapper are not known to migrate from Texas to Alabama, crossing over the Mississippi Delat in the process, every year as some "scientists" would have you believe.

    Granted, there is a combination of attraction/production, but in the ling term perspective, the artificial reefs are in fact, Essential Fish Habitat.

    Capt. Thomas J. Hilton
  • Capt BloodCapt Blood Posts: 184 Officer
    Roger that Tom, everyone is entitled to there opinion. We'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

    If Alabama wants to invest in recreational reefs for targeting red snapper, I have no qualms with that- well except maybe calling it what it is a recreational device. It's the leap to "producing"...just not there...though I don't reject it....

    Coming from a background of fighting for beach access to surf and fish, saving beaches from being "engineered" with sand and rocks that destroy surf breaks and great coastal fishing, my opinion is that trying to engineer things in the ocean can lead to unintended consequences and if its a shared resource of everyone in the Nation we should tread lightly on messing it.
    "...forced to become a pirate not for infamy and riches, but out of a rankling sense of injustice by the government leaders who have forsaken him..." -Rafael Sabatini-
  • Tom HiltonTom Hilton Posts: 1,582 Captain
    Yeah, I see your point. Humans used to eat wild seeds and berries and hunt wild animals in order to survive. Then they made that leap of producing and growing their own crops and livestock however, which was a GREAT move. Enhancing the habitat, nurturing the survivability of juveniles, growing and producing our fish is a step beyond mere conservation.
  • Capt BloodCapt Blood Posts: 184 Officer
    Tom Hilton wrote: »
    Yeah, I see your point. Humans used to eat wild seeds and berries and hunt wild animals in order to survive. Then they made that leap of producing and growing their own crops and livestock however, which was a GREAT move. Enhancing the habitat, nurturing the survivability of juveniles, growing and producing our fish is a step beyond mere conservation.

    Jeez Tom, say something you disagree with and you get aggressive and now condescending. It's a public forum and you can if you want; guess I apply what I noted about MathGeek's "luminaries and "bureacrats" labeling of those one agrees and disagrees with...annoying. We all come at things from different perspectives and that diversity is a strength that leads to good decision making. Guess I'd much rather align myself with the person humble enough to be open to being wrong than one over confident that they're right.
    "...forced to become a pirate not for infamy and riches, but out of a rankling sense of injustice by the government leaders who have forsaken him..." -Rafael Sabatini-
  • flatsfisherflatsfisher Posts: 1,381 Officer
    it is terrible to see this! Such a waste
  • Tom HiltonTom Hilton Posts: 1,582 Captain
    Capt Blood wrote: »
    Jeez Tom, say something you disagree with and you get aggressive and now condescending. It's a public forum and you can if you want; guess I apply what I noted about MathGeek's "luminaries and "bureacrats" labeling of those one agrees and disagrees with...annoying. We all come at things from different perspectives and that diversity is a strength that leads to good decision making. Guess I'd much rather align myself with the person humble enough to be open to being wrong than one over confident that they're right.

    What's annoying is an enviro coming on here supposedly with an "open mind" and "humble" when in reality they are just espousing the same old rhetoric.

    What's annoying is the refusal to acknowledge the already proven success of artificial reefs in PRODUCING fish stocks.

    What's annoying is the refusal to answer specific questions in regards to your stance, and continue to blather on about how you are being abused on a public forum. Grow a pair dude.
  • Capt BloodCapt Blood Posts: 184 Officer
    Tom Hilton wrote: »
    What's annoying is an enviro coming on here supposedly with an "open mind" and "humble" when in reality they are just espousing the same old rhetoric.

    What's annoying is the refusal to acknowledge the already proven success of artificial reefs in PRODUCING fish stocks.

    What's annoying is the refusal to answer specific questions in regards to your stance, and continue to blather on about how you are being abused on a public forum. Grow a pair dude.

    You clearly engage as you see fit, why should anyone follow your rules of engagement. I will do as I please and you can pound sand...take a Valium while you're at it; your doing your cause no good by being so offensive...IMO.
    "...forced to become a pirate not for infamy and riches, but out of a rankling sense of injustice by the government leaders who have forsaken him..." -Rafael Sabatini-
  • Tom HiltonTom Hilton Posts: 1,582 Captain
    I can see you are offended when someone calls a spade a spade. don't come on this forum feigning humility and spouting enviro propaganda.
  • Capt BloodCapt Blood Posts: 184 Officer
    Ha! If that's not the pot calling the kettle black; particularly for a forum entitled "Conservation Front".
    "...forced to become a pirate not for infamy and riches, but out of a rankling sense of injustice by the government leaders who have forsaken him..." -Rafael Sabatini-
  • rocketman1rocketman1 Posts: 187 Deckhand
    Stay the course Tom. I am with you. No habitat = No fish.

    We all have local examples of declines in wildlife populations as habitat is lost.

    So is it not logical to expect the fishery to increase with increased habitat? Of course.

    The reefs become havens for the fry and micro-organisms and then the predator fish populations increase as a direct result of the increased habitat and associated biomass.

    As an example, the platforms around Port Fourchon, LA - just those in 50 to 80 feet of water, may exceed 100 separate structures. These structures hold large and varied populations of fish from Gray Snapper, to Red snapper, to Ling, Redfish, etc. Those structures hold these fish due to the food sources that are stacked and living on and around those platforms. The removal of the platforms using the current practice will result in that area being void of any such structures and thus the permanent loss of that biomass because the habitat is being permanently removed.

    No sane person can rationalize the current practice as a good and just thing for the ecosystems that have developed on and around these structures.
    NO HABITAT = NO FISH
  • Capt BloodCapt Blood Posts: 184 Officer
    What if.....this is actually poaching on the commons? IF (and this hypothetical) artificial reefs are scientifically proven to be aggregation devices. Are folks deploying these guilty of poaching the fish others could have caught because they lured them to there spot (aka a deer feeder)?

    I'm just sayin...

    And Rocketman don't get me wrong I agree the waste of fish due to explosives is a waste. Yet, that discussion on this thread seems to have gotten placed under the umbrella of whether the ocean is good as is or needs our engineering.

    And Tom I know you're chomping at the bit brother, so I held back on saying "needs our engineering...to making it better". Ya know, so we can get into it on this "Conservation front" forum on where our I suspect our convo is really going...whether you deploying AR's are really about you needing an edge to put your clients on the fish so you can make money and less about so called "production".
    "...forced to become a pirate not for infamy and riches, but out of a rankling sense of injustice by the government leaders who have forsaken him..." -Rafael Sabatini-
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 10,282 AG
    Amigo time!!!! lol
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • rocketman1rocketman1 Posts: 187 Deckhand
    Capt. Blood, I am simply a recreation fisherman who hopes that my grandkids will have a resource to enjoy.
    The issue of habitat decline and the associated adverse impact on populations is not logically debatable.
    Any decrease in habitat results in a decrease over time in the species that uses that habitat. Have you been around the platforms in the Gulf of Mexico? These are complex eco-systems that have developed/evolved over many years. They are a wonder to see and will be a great loss if they vanish from the Gulf.

    I remember when the fish populations per acre in Lake Conroe (north of Houston, TX) were high during the 1980s when hydrilla provided an abundance of cover for fry and the bass population was robust and healthy. Enter 300,000 grass carp. The result was a devastation of HABITAT (all aquatic vegetation) that has resulted in lower survival rates with each spawn, as the babies had no place to hide. There was a temporary spike in catch rates for a few years as the remaining habitat decreased and the fish moved to these remaining areas. The fish per acre then plunged. Recently the authorities have re-introduced various aquatic plant species in an attempt to increase habitat and aid the fishery. This has been successful and time will tell if Conroe reaches it former glory.

    We are all entitled to think what we wish on any given subject. Consider the facts and then decide what you think is right. And if it is 'right' in your mind then play out your hand in every aspect of what you do ... and see where that takes you. I would suggest that a logical extension of your thesis would have you uprooting your yard and plants and reverting back to some more primitive level of existence, without power and running water, etc, etc. I do not think you intend that. But the logical extension of your thinking suggests that conclusion.

    We are temporary stewards of Earth's resources and in my mind, while supporting our fellow man, should engage in activities that yes, utilizes those resources (we eat,and need shelter, right?) and also respects the resources.
    NO HABITAT = NO FISH
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