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Rigs to reefs money should benefit fisheries

Our View -   Oct 13, 2011

Fishermen always relish the sight of an oil rig when they head offshore to make their catch in the Gulf of Mexico.

Because that is where the fish are.

Fish use the rig bottoms as their communities with the protection they provide from the open ocean. In some areas, natural reefs provide a similar purpose.

But when the oil quits flowing and the rigs no longer serve original purposes, the oil companies either trim the rigs down where they are or move them to another spot if they are an impediment to navigation. In either place, they will serve as reefs to continue benefitting the fish.

The oil companies also give the state money to maintain those used rigs. But lately, the Louisiana Legislature has been using some of that oil company money for other purposes.

That should not be allowed. Louisiana needs all the money it can get to rebuild its coast and continue it as the biggest habitat for fish in the country. Building other state projects will not accomplish that purpose.

It is bad enough that we have a huge dead zone off the coast of Louisiana caused by the federal government not enforcing laws that would prevent farmers in the midwest from letting their fertilizer flow into the Mississippi River. It eventually gets into the Gulf and kills fish.

All future money derived from the closing of producing oil rigs  along the Louisiana coast should go to the preservation of a healthy and productive Gulf of Mexico. It will help keep the fish healthy and alive.

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