Saving Rigs to Save Sea Life

The Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council (Gulf Council) recently voted to consider assessing whether or not decommissioned offshore oil and gas platforms are Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) and Habitats of Particular Concern (HAPCs). The Gulf Council is far from approving decommissioned platforms as EFH or HAPCs. All they are doing is considering the idea. They have to write an amendment to seven Fisheries Management Plans (FMP) and the EFH FMP, write an EIS for the Amendments, and conduct public hearings before it is approved. It will take 3 - 5 years before it is a done deal and it will take longer to enforce the action. The Gulf of Mexico will lose 1,200 platforms, 1,800 acres of coral reef habitat, and 7 billion invertebrates before the FMPs are adjusted for the retired structures is implemented. The Pacific Council also went through the same process in the mid-2000s for the platforms offshore of California. After many years of public deliberation, the Pacific Council did not approve decommissioned platforms as EFH or HAPCs. See Mission Statement above.