Believe it or not, one of the best things to happen in the Gulf of Mexico in past decades has been the drilling for oil there.
That’s right. The placement of rigs for that production has given fish a place to rest and made life easier for them.
Now, the federal government wants the oil companies to remove those rigs when they are no longer in production. Does that make sense? They want to get rid of a golden goose egg that has made the Gulf of Mexico one of the most productive commercial fisheries in the world.
According to Don Dubuc on a WWL radio talk show last week, there are some 650 rigs no longer producing in the Gulf which the feds want companies that put them there to remove them. And when they do that, away go the fish.
Of course, the rig owners are not excited about removing them since that would entail great expense. They would gladly pay the government a considerable sum if they were not required to do it. But, they are responsible to do it if the government demands it since it is the government’s property.
It makes no sense to remove something that has been so productive. Anyone who has fished in the Gulf knows the fish love the rigs where they get a resting spot and in many cases a desirable place to live. They serve as artificial reefs similar to natural reefs that provide habitats for fish in other parts of the world.
The government’s requirement for removal of unused rigs goes back to the time when we didn’t know how they would benefit the fishing population. We have found out and it would be a mistake to make them get rid of a valuable asset to our environment. The feds need to change the rules on unused rigs and let the fish continue to enjoy their chosen homes. And let the commercial and sport fishermen continue to know where to find them.