If you fish the northern Gulf of Mexico, you’re no doubt familiar by now with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s misguided “Idle Iron” policy, the federal plan to destroy 650 decommissioned oil platforms in the region.
You’re also aware — thankfully — that strong opposition has emerged to this initiative from a recreational-fishing industry coalition, as well as a bill called the Rigs to Reefs Habitat Protection Act, which was introduced by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and designed to protect these rigs.
What the feds don’t seem to understand is that these rig structures have, over the years, become encrusted with dense, vast colonies of coral reef; in fact, many regard the platforms as the largest network of artificial reefs in the world.
We anglers have known this for years. And now comes a video demonstrating this very thing.
The Louisiana Council of Underwater Diving Clubs (LCUDC) sent us this link, as well as several other links to more videos. This particular film was produced by Capt. Al Walker of the Gulf Production Co.
As you can see, these rigs are indeed essential fish habitat. They must be protected: