Reefer Madness Indeed

Sport Fishing's ongoing efforts to alert the public to the insane federally mandated destruction of the Gulf's living coral reefs now has support from an authoritative mainstream source: The Economist.

jesse cancelmo images

jesse cancelmo images

This leopard grouper hovers over a thick growth of coral on one of the Louisiana rigs not yet blasted apart and hauled out of the Gulf.Jesse Cancelmo (

In blogs and SF magazine editorials in recent years, I've railed repeatedly and bitterly about the ongoing federal "idle iron" mandate, requiring the destruction and removal of old oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. I just couldn't get over the hypocrisy and utter insanity of destroying what have become vast, unique, vertical, living coral-reef ecosystems — oases of life. I still can't.

It makes no sense to destroy most of the hundreds and hundreds of platforms that will be blasted to bits in coming years. To “reef” them — cutting off the top 85 feet and leaving the remainder — is a win all around: It actually saves the oil companies money, a good part of which goes to states that issue reefing permits, and of course it enhances rather than degrades the ecology of the Gulf of Mexico.

Some might try to spin my comments as merely the ravings of an angler who wants to catch more fish. But don't take my word for it****. I urge anyone who cares about the Gulf and anyone who considers himself a** true environmentalist to read "Reefer Madness" from a very mainstream, respected source, The Economist**.****

It’s nice to have such support in this ongoing struggle. With rigs being decommissioned to the tune of 400 per year, and many slated for destruction, the issue remains timely and pressing — and should concern us all.