Posts Tagged ‘Doug Olander’

Apr 25, 2012

Doug Olander, Editor of SportFishing Magazine, continues to provide leadership on the important issue of offshore oil rigs and the valuable habit they provide. Some misguided individuals from the extreme side of the environmental community are advocating removal of the rigs without considering the valuable habitat they provide. Doug’s recent blog below shares the good news that the Gulf Coast Fishery Management Council has recently voted to list the oil rigs in the Gulf Coast as “Essential Fish Habitat” and “Habitat Areas of Particular Concern”. While this is not a final solution in keeping the underwater portion of the rigs in place, when they are decommissioned, it is a step in the right direction.

Guy Harvey and AFTCO are supporting this effort with a special Rig-To-Reefs T-shirt designed by Guy and distributed by AFTCO and its retail partners. $2 from the sale of each shirt is being donated to the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) to support their educational efforts on the value of maintaining this important habitat.Bill Shedd 

Gulf Rigs to Become ‘Essential Fish Habitat’

Every angler who fishes or ever might fish the Gulf of Mexico, as well as every true environmentalist who cares about the Gulf, owes a major “thank you!” to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.

As I write this (Thursday morning, April 19), the council has just unanimously voted to go forward with the process that will list the Gulf’s decommissioned oil rigs as Essential Fish Habitat and Habitat Areas of Particular Concern, official federal designations designed to protect critical habitat.

This action can be huge in the battle to save about 650 rigs – covered in tons of living coral – from the U.S. Department of the Interior, which has ordered the oil industry to destroy and remove them within the next five years.

The council’s vote directs its staff to prepare the necessary management plans, and it will likely be some months before the council will have a final plan to approve and send on for the Secretary of Commerce’s signature later this year.

But process is in motion!

In a blog last week, I urged council members to vote for EFH. Now I thank them for their wise judgment in taking this important step.

For a more thorough analysis of this action and its implications, don’t miss Sport Fishing’s editorial in the June issue.

Doug Olander

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Sep 30, 2011

Stop the Plan to Destroy Our Gulf’s Living Coral Reefs

Removing off shore rigs destroys valuable habitat

In an editorial a few years ago, I asked this question: Would anyone mind if the federal government ordered hundreds of coral reefs around the Florida Keys to be dynamited into rubble and hauled away?

One hopes the rhetorical nature of that is obvious. Hell, yes! The uproar would be huge, particularly among environmental groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council.

So I have to wonder why such environmental groups haven’t spoken out against destroying hundreds of living coral reefs in the northern Gulf of Mexico. In fact, at least one — the NRDC — is on record actively opposing any effort to stop such destruction. These groups are aware of the plan, but I suspect most of the public is not or there would be more pushback.

While any government directive to destroy reefs may sound crazy, here’s how it’s going down.

For years, the feds have obligated oil companies to eventually yank out all non-producing oil rigs in the Gulf. That has been happening, but slowly.

Late last year, in what the Coastal Conservation Association calls a knee-jerk reaction to last summer’s oil disaster, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced a directive that all such rigs be pulled out within five years.

That would mean at this point, about 650 offshore rigs would be destroyed. That’s 650 individual, massive, living, vibrant coral-reef ecosystems — obliterated. (And keep in mind, these are huge vertical reefs offering structure and coral where otherwise there would be only barren, smooth bottom.)

But now there may be hope — in the form of federal legislation just introduced by Louisiana Sen. David Vitter called the Rigs to Reefs Habitat Protection Act of 2011. “I appreciate the Coastal Conservation Association bringing this issue to my attention,” he says. “More than ever, we need to create habitat for marine life in the Gulf, not dispose of it. These idle rigs are serving a valuable purpose supporting our fisheries.”

Indeed, Dr. Bob Shipp, chair of the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council has theorized publicly that one of the main reasons the Gulf is truly swarming with red snapper is the existence of so much habitat where decades ago there was so little.

The Rigs to Reefs Habitat Protection Act would not allow platforms to be removed until assessments are completed to determine whether a platform supports coral populations or other protected species, and to identify any species that have recreational or commercial value. If it is determined that a structure supports substantial reef ecosystems, its decommissioning would be halted until it can be determined that removing it would not harm the reef ecosystem.

A breath of sanity, you say? A big 10-4 to that: From this angler/conservationist, a huge thank-you to both Vitter and CCA.

BUT — the fat lady is far from singing on this one. Legislation proposed and legislation enacted may be poles apart.

You can help save the Gulf’s living reefs — and I hope you will by taking just a moment to click here to go to the CCA web site and send a message to your legislators supporting Vitter’s bill.

Don’t let public apathy or astoundingly misguided “environmentalists” destroy the Gulf’s vast, thriving reef system. As sport fishermen, let’s show, yet again, who the true environmentalists are. Put another way, ask yourself: “Is saving a living coral reef and its communities of marine fish worth one minute of my time?” Do it now — and pass it on. Together, we can stop the destruction of the Gulf’s reefs.

— Doug Olander

For a complete list of our other featured blog posts and to see the full line of Guy Harvey Sportswear, please