dead red snapper
“Abominable” — that’s the word a Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council Member uses to describe the video below. I couldn’t agree more, unfortunately.
Under any circumstances, seeing hundreds of red snapper floating, dead, is disheartening. But I think it goes from “disheartening” to “travesty” when (a) the snapper were killed because of a federal-government mandate and (b) that same federal government has cut Gulf red snapper seasons to their shortest duration in history as part of stock-rebuilding efforts!
As the video explains, these fish were killed by detonations designed to destroy “idle iron” — decommissioned/non-producing oil structures. Nearly three years ago, the U.S Dept. of the Interior gave oil companies five years to remove from the Gulf all such “idle iron” structures — meaning, at the time, more than 650 such rigs.
Sport Fishing has repeatedly called for a moratorium on this policy, since it means destroying hundreds of acres of unique, vertical reefs — living coral (some of which may be recently listed endangered species of coral).
But besides destroying the reefs themselves and the ecosystems they’ve come to support, blowing up oil rigs to get rid of them clearly kills the fish in the vicinity of the doomed rig.
Note that this is not a one-off! Rigs around the northern Gulf are being blasted apart continually, as oil companies work to meet the government mandate (and also get rid of the threat of liability issues going forward). This just happens to be one of the rare times that someone was around to see and document the annihilation of hundreds of red snapper (which you can multiply times hundreds of rigs).
I don’t use the word “outrage” lightly but this seems to be a case for it. Somehow saving snapper to blow them up doesn’t make a lot of sense.