Oil and gas rigs can serve as artificial reefs and provide habitat for ecologically and economically significant fish species such as red snapper and amberjack. In the early 2000s, over 4,000 oil rigs were present in the Gulf of Mexico. Today, fewer than half this number of active and decommissioned oil rigs are present in the Gulf of Mexico.
Scientists with Texas A&M University and LGL Ecological Research Services are seeking input from recreational anglers in Texas and Louisiana to fully understand the impacts of this decrease in oil rigs on fish populations and recreational angling in the Gulf.
This study, which is supported by the National Sea Grant College Program and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, could inform future tools to readily identify the environmental and economic impacts of removing an oil rig. It will allow decision makers to include impacts on recreational fishing when they make choices on whether to remove a rig or turn the rig into an artificial reef.
Anglers can help by completing a 15-minute survey online on their fishing habits and destination preferences or by using the FishVerify smartphone app to provide detailed information about a single fishing trip.
Survey participants are eligible for a 1 in 50 chance of winning $100. App users are eligible for a 1 in 25 chance of winning $500.
All data obtained from participation in the study is confidential—only aggregate results will be shared publicly.
To participate or learn more, visit tx.ag/RecFishing.
Sara Carney, communications manager, Texas Sea Grant, 713-435-9585, email@example.com
Dr. Richard Woodward, professor, Texas A&M University, 979-845-5864, firstname.lastname@example.org