January 9, 2018

Oil And Gas Development Aiding Texas Fishermen


While environmentalists claim that their blind opposition to oil and gas development along the Gulf of Mexico is aimed at protecting the local fishing industry, local fishermen are welcoming the increased development. Bill Watkins, captain of Have Boat Will Travel Guide Service, was quick to point out the many benefits the oil and gas industry has on marine life and the Texas fishing industry:

“My experience is that oil rigs in the Gulf have been great manmade reefs. The more of them out there, the better fishing it is out there… The offshore oil rigs are a real boon to marine life. Every one out there is a mini-reef.”

Other fishermen like Joshua Davis, the captain of Happy Hooker Fishing Charters, concurs with Watkins assessment:

“I think it’s a wonderful thing. It would increase my business exponentially. The economy would improve, meaning more people coming into the area; and the rigs and cells would provide mini-reefs for marine life. If I thought it be would be hurting my fishing, you’d hear about it.”

Oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico form the largest man-made reef in the world. Dr. Greg Stunz of the Harte Research Institute of Gulf of Mexico Studies, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi intensive studies have led him to push for Congress to address a rigs-to-reef program because of the many environmental benefits:

“It helps the people of the Coastal Bend, it helps our economies, and most importantly, the Gulf environment. [The rigs] develop flourishing ecosystems … and it enhances our fish stocks, and the anglers love them because they make good fishing spots.”