Online Comment for EFH Amendment
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7/2/2016 10:06:29Reese GillilandReesegilliland@yahoo.comDecommissioned oil platforms are being rapidly removed from the central gulfas part of Obama cleanup the gulf program with no consideration for the artificial reefs these platforms represent. Many species are almost completely at the mercy of this habitat and the shelter it offers. This issue needs to be addressed and quickly. What government agency is responsible for this oversight before this ecosystem is gone forever.

Thanks
REESE GILLILAND
Itta benaPrivate Recreational Angler
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8/20/2012 15:12:28Ragan DickensRagan@LOGA.LADear Council Member:

This week in New Orleans, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) and the Joint Artificial Reef/Habitat Committee will be meeting to consider a proposal of designating specific oil and gas platforms as crucial fish habitats. For your consideration, due to the different ongoing energy operations on offshore platforms that will potentially be affected in the Gulf, we would like to work with the Council to determine suitable fishery options that would address mutual interests.

The offshore oil and gas industry is a central supplier to the fisheries environment in the Gulf of Mexico.
The industry is also a strong supporter of the existing “Rigs-to-Reefs” program under which, as of last month, the industry has reefed more than 430 platforms in the Gulf of Mexico to provide long-term habitats that significantly help sustain Gulf fisheries resources.

The Rigs-to-Reefs program does two positive things: First, it presents a positive environment that offers an expansion of the natural biological marine life. By leaving these obsolete rigs in the water, a new artificial atmosphere is created for the natural surrounding habitat. This not only is an advantage for the sportsmen, but it helps with the advancement of the natural food chain and the general health of the ecological system. Secondly, the Rigs-to-Reef program enhances the fishing community’s daily catch count and can increase the variety of what is available to them. Positive economic development stems from this process. The fishermen come back into the communities, sell their catch to the local groceries and ultimately the catch can end up on your plate at the nearest seafood restaurant.

Thank you for your consideration of this request. We welcome the opportunity to work with the Council on this serious issue, and look forward to addressing related concerns with you in advance of the Joint Artificial Reef/Habitat Committee and full Council meetings next week.

Very truly yours,

Don Briggs
President
Louisiana Oil & Gas Association
Shreveport, LA, 71111Other
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11/9/2012 9:59:36Steve Johnsoncaptsteve@lakesuperiorfishing.comI truly find it hard to believe that presently no oil rigs designated as EFH. In the last few years the rigs off the Texas coast are being removed by explosive charges killing most of the living marine life on them and destroying and future habitat they used to provide. Now after removing most of our offshore rigs that are "in range" for us recreational boaters you are just NOW deciding to MAYBE designate one or two as EFH. Hard to comprehend and can hardly wait for your explanation of not protecting the fishery that those rigs provided.

Thank you for allowing me to voice my thoughts and great concerns.
Capt Steve Johnson
PO Box 916
Port Aransas TX 78373
captsteve@lakesuperiorfishing.com
Port Aransas TX 78373Private Recreational Angler
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12/10/2012 8:26:16Ed McAvoyRuutn4uf@msn.comCan rigs be cut off at a safe depth and the top be sunk as well? It seems obvious to leave the lower section of the older rigs in place so as to maintain any underwater environment that has emerged. Newer rigs can be removed to a common area to form a larger artificial reef. Regardless of whether the rigs form additional or alternative habitats for sea life, creating artificial reefs doesn't seem to be harmful. The companies that own the platforms tapped into a natural resource and should add something back to the system by providing an undersea habitat and a resource for sport fishing.Bradenton, fl., 34202Private Recreational Angler
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12/10/2012 8:26:16Ed McAvoyRuutn4uf@msn.comCan rigs be cut off at a safe depth and the top be sunk as well? It seems obvious to leave the lower section of the older rigs in place so as to maintain any underwater environment that has emerged. Newer rigs can be removed to a common area to form a larger artificial reef. Regardless of whether the rigs form additional or alternative habitats for sea life, creating artificial reefs doesn't seem to be harmful. The companies that own the platforms tapped into a natural resource and should add something back to the system by providing an undersea habitat and a resource for sport fishing.Bradenton, fl., 34202Private Recreational Angler
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12/12/2012 8:42:41ROBERT P KARZRPKARZ@GMAIL.COMA little over two years ago the USS Oriskany , a 900 foot long decommissioned aircraft carrier, was intentionally sunk in the Gulf of Mexico, joining the ranks of hundreds of ships that are resting on the bottom that can be reached by recreational divers. Over a relatively short period of time the Oriskany become a significant habitat for sea life. This ship is considered to be one of the top ten "wreck" dive sites in the world.

divers from all over the world come just to dive the Oriskany, adding their tourist dollars to the local economy.

After forty years and over 800 dives on dozens of man made habitats, for the most part shipwecks as well as intententioal sinkings, I feel that there is only one course of actions that makes any sense .
Having the oil companies remove the platforms to a point 85 feet below surface will leave the sea life already living undisturbed, continuing the growth of the colony already in place. To remove the entire structure just doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

There have been some earlier mistakes made in creating artificial reefs, but lessons have been learned from those mistakes. The old oil rigs are a "gift" for the sea life in the Gulf that comes without any taxpayer expense. It is a win-win situation for everyone.
SARASOTA FL 34240Other
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12/12/2012 16:21:42irina bronstein laroseirinarlc@tampabay.rr.comI feel the platforms should remain to provide the now long established habitat for fish and coral. They should be cut down so as to not require maintenance and expenses for such above the water. It is reasonable to consider the platforms below the water to be established habitat since many other structurres under the water for a long period of time are considered now habitat and special rock formations are routinely sunk to the bottom by marine biologists to help establish new habitats for fish and coral. bradenton, fl 34209Other
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1/13/2013 10:10:43Terry Migaudtgmigaud@cox,netThe members of the Louisiana Council of Underwater Dive Clubs (LCUDC) has many hours of diving the platforms, would like decommission platforms to remain in place from top to bottom..

From our observations we have found the platforms to be beautfiul, unique, and yes esstinal habitits.

We understand the powerful forces to remove these marine habitats, but the aftermath of the dwelling offshore have left a wondeful bit of natural.

We understand the problems from libility to funding is not an easy solution, but they are obtainable and should not stand in the way.

NOAA is presently moving forward in declaring some 7 to 9 specis of Caribbean corals as endanged or threated, many of these corals are found on the platforms. Just one of the many reasons to "save the rigs".

Terry Migaud
LCUDC Sec/tre
70001Private Recreational Angler
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1/14/2013 15:37:30Louis Rossignoldclouis@cox.netBeing a diver and spearfisherman for the last 30 years in the Gulf of Mexico, I think it's a damn shame what is going on with the petroleum platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. These are the best reefs in the world far surpassing natural coral reefs in abundance of fish life.

Once this valuable resource is gone, it will never be able reproduced for many many years.
Kenner, La. 70065Private Recreational Angler, Commercial Fisher
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1/15/2013 8:21:21Cher Calamusa Walkercher@truebluewatersports.comAs an avid diver and dive center owner, it's essential to our environment and business model that platforms remain intact once decommissioned. I have personally witnessed the amount of marine life living and flourishing on the platforms. It's tragic to think of the possibility of "deforesting" the surrounding area of a platform. Lake Charles, LA 70606Other
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1/15/2013 8:56:24shane kesslerpsdmedic@aol.comPlease leave oil rigs alone. They provide invaluable habitat to marine life.
71360Private Recreational Angler
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1/15/2013 8:56:32Jamison Thorntonjthorn1223@yahoo.comScuba diverRagley, LA, 70657Private Recreational Angler, Other
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1/15/2013 8:58:23Tammy Gouthiertammy-gouthier@sbcglobal.netMy husband and I are beginning recreational divers. We have never dived the oil platforms, but look forward to. We have seen such beautiful videos of the coral growth and the abundant sea life that dwell amongst the oil platform, especially around the rig off the gulf coast of High Island, TX. Reading about the possibility that the platform might be removed is horrifying. The ecosystem that is thriving would be literally ripped apart, destroyed. Please consider this amendment protecting this artificial reef-oil platform. There are so many different artificial objects to dive, such as wrecks off the shores of our gulf coast. Recreational diving and fishing helps bring about respect and awareness to the beauty of the fisheries and natural coral reefs. And that awareness makes people want to protect them from harm. And I have to mention the impact of tourism and economic benefits, Texas as well as all the gulf coast states enjoy today and the future.Silsbee, TX 77656Private Recreational Angler, Other
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1/15/2013 10:11:41eric n larsonmeca04@aol.comThe gulf would be a desert without structure!!!!!!lake charles, la 70605Private Recreational Angler, Other
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1/15/2013 10:46:28Taylor Hollier Hollier.taylor@gmail.comThe gulf is already running short on basic fish. Natural disasters continue to come through our gulf and destroy natural habitats. Why ruin more?Lake Charles, La, 70605Other
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1/15/2013 11:19:12Rick Suttoninfo@diveatcoralreef.comAs a professional in the recreational scuba diving industry, I know first hand what kind of economic benefit these rigs bring. The habitat for marine life these structures provide are phenomenal. During the years I've been in the scuba diving industry I've been lucky to be able to dive all over the world. The platforms in the Gulf of Mexico attract more fish, larger fish and a diversity of life on them, then anywhere else I have seen. This marine life draws sport divers, spear fisherman and sport fisherman from all over the country, providing recreation and a livelihood for a significant amount of people. To remove these structures really has no benefit for anybody and does a tremendous injustice to many. The structures should be left in place above and below the surface as the top of the rig from the surface of the water to 100ft. holds an abundant amount of life. Slidell, La, 70458Other
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1/16/2013 7:47:47Alicia Cretinialicia@truebluewatersports.comI work in a dive shop in Lake Charles and know that from booking trips to see the flower gardens that the platform that has been left in the gardens has become a very popular dive destination. We even have divers that would say that it is their favorite dive spot that they have ever been to in the world! The number of fish and invertebrates that call this platform home are what keeps people coming back to the Gulf Coast. Please, please, please don't tear out the rig.

Also the man made rig combined with all all the things that nature has built around it is a wonderful juxtaposition for people to see. In my opinion being able to see that drilling platforms that can provide homes and growth space for coral and fish that would not always be in the area should help people understand that the industry doesn't always cause destruction but can be up-cycled into a wonderful underwater paradise.

Thanks for your time and consideration, SAVE THE RIG!
Alicia Cretini
Lake Charles, Louisiana, 70601Other
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1/17/2013 9:16:40Kevin Tateklt859@gmail.comA recreational diver who values the underwater world.77662Private Recreational Angler
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1/22/2013 13:50:54Cody M Gautreauxcodyg@seahorse-marine.comI fish and spearfish on the fixed oil platforms and also dive varouis bottom reefs. In my opinion i see alot more fish on a oil rig the facts r simply because it substains all forms of life as where a bottom reef is just that,bottom fish. thanks for your time. Cody gautreaux lockport la 70374Private Recreational Angler, Other
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1/22/2013 14:10:23John P. Littlejlittle@nationalrealty.comPlease do not let one more single decommissioned rig be taken down. These structures are the PRIMARY habitat for so many species of fish that without them, most of our fisheries would not exist. The remaining natural structures and wrecks will not be able to support the current biomass. There will be massive declines in all fish stocks. There is absolutely no logical reason to spend money to destroy existing habitat.Houston, TX 77027Private Recreational Angler
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1/22/2013 15:59:54bowman guttner8ballrun@att.netThe decommissioning and removal of offshore oil platforms destroys essential fish habitat. The current administrations “idle iron program” is not the answer or the correct use of these structures. As a diver and an offshore fisherman I have seen firsthand what an important part of the offshore ecosystem these offshore platforms hold. The platforms need to be left in place and not removed and hauled ashore destroying the entire essential fish habitat. There are endangered species of coral on these platforms that take many years to grow. How can the removal of these corals be permitted offshore when the use of a whole forest can be denied over a single bird species? I feel that all offshore oil platforms should be left in place or at a minimum it be required that they are used in the current “rig to reef program”baton rouge la 70806Private Recreational Angler
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1/22/2013 19:40:13Ron JohnsonRJohnson@cpso.comThe rigs either need to stay or be turned into a reef, they provide shelter for hundreds of thousand fish. If you ever made a dive in the gulf at rig then made dives everywhere else away from rigs you will understand the importance of each structure.Lake Charles, LaPrivate Recreational Angler
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1/23/2013 6:04:31Daniel fortierDanielfortier123@gmail.comThe oil rigs are the heart and sole of the LA offshore fishing. Bringing the platforms down will deal a serious blow to the actual fish populations in the gulf thereby causing a ripple affect all the way back to the LA economy. The oil companies would like to take the platforms completely out of the water or even in some cases reef in place. Although reefing the rig is a mich better alternative than removal, keepig the entire rig atanding is the absolute best way to keep the ecosystem of the platform thriving. The biodiversity of a rig is greatly attributes to its full water column support. Harboring life on all levels. We have to do all we can as a responsible society to keep the largest artificial reef system in the world in place for decades to come.Destrehan, la, 70047Private Recreational Angler
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1/23/2013 7:21:29Toby Armstrongtobyarmstrongus35@hotmail.comI have dived the platforms off Louisiana since 1969. They should be deemed essential reef habitat. The are very productive marine eco-systems with coral, fish and marine mammals benefiting greatly. They should not be removed or cut off. The top 60 ft. is the most productive. It is insane to remove a living reef to move it some other place to make a reef. Rigs to reefs should not be an option.
I have seen Gag spawning aggregations at Main Pass 305(now gone). MP 305 was a bio-diverse platform.To see go to: www. flickr.com/photos/tobyarmstrong
New Orleans,LA 70115Other
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1/23/2013 13:30:24Ronald Cloudrdmecloud@bellsouth.netThe oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico should be listed as essential fish habitat and managed as such. The data supporting this is indisputable and without question.
The removal of decommissioned platforms should be stopped immediately as endangered corals and other marine life are being destroyed by the removal of, and the techniques being used to remove the platforms and is in violation of the laws designed to protect and preserve the marine environment
A cooperative agreement can be reached with the oil companies and the states to address the liability issues and concerns the oil companies have.


Baton Rouge, LA, 70817Private Recreational Angler
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1/24/2013 11:15:35Steven Hartleygoindeep@cox.net
To the members of the Gulf Council.
The opportunity that currently lies in your hands is of truly epic proportions. The immediate halt to the destruction of Oil and Gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico must happen. We the people, the residents of the Gulf Coast, the fisherman, sightseers, and researchers, are relying on you, Gulf Council members, to save countless acres of unique Essential Fish Habitat. We Gulf Coast residents are so fortunate to have had oil and gas companies come to our waters and involuntarily establish thousands of artificial reefs, that produce and shelter marine life like no other artificial reef can. By offering structure from the surface to the seabed, an opportunity is made for so many different species of fishes and invertebrates, as opposed to laying a structure over and loosing that crucial top 100 ft of the water column.

While other portions of the Gulf of Mexico are said to be experiencing fish stocks at non sustainable levels and drastic restrictions are being imposed to ensure the survival of these fish and corals. We here in the oil and gas producing states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama have waters teaming with life in the waters found under these structures. Imagine how truly absurd it is that our own government is mandating the destruction of these irreplaceable reefs.
So many times in my life I see my government with a few choices before them and almost predictably the worst possible choice is the one selected. Here we are again. However as of right now you Gulf Council members have the opportunity to make the right decision, right now. Simplify this decision in your own mind and ask yourself this question. Do I think it would be a good idea to remove a living thriving reef ?
I ask of you to think of why you took your position. Do you want to protect the marine environment? The fate of these reefs is in your hands. I beg of you to fight for them.
Sincerely
Lafitte,La,70067Private Recreational Angler
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1/28/2013 13:40:46Gerald Motleymotleycru@att.netPlease forward to all Gulf Council members.
To all members:
Please do everything you can to fast track this important issue. As anyone who has been out to fish around the rigs knows, These structures are teeming with life and are critical for the future of all fish in the Gulf.
Where some of the oceans are too warm to sustain coral growth, it is flourishing on so many of these rigs. I still remember my first trip out to fish around one and seeing the baitfish jumping out of the water and eighty pound tunas following close behind. It looked like something from National Geographic.
Please preserve these as essential fish habitat as fast as you can. There are 358 scheduled to disappear forever this year alone.
Thank you for your time and effort on this.
Gerald Motley
Chattanooga, TNPrivate Recreational Angler
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1/30/2013 10:18:09chris boudreauxcboudreaux@gmail.comDear council members,

Although the rigs to reefs program is a step in the right direction for preserving the gulf fishery, it does not go far enough to preserve the entire ecosystem that these platforms have become. Sea life around the rig extends thoughout the entire water column, from surface to sea floor. Removal of any part of the platform structure, even the first 100 feet, will severely impact the population, if not eliminate many popular species of sportfish from the gulf coast. This will impact local economies along the coast that depend almost exclusively on commercial and recreational fishing. If these rigs are not preserved, our fishery and coastal may disappear.
marrero, la, 70072Private Recreational Angler
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2/11/2013 10:07:59Ron WootenxxxxI worked as an observer on these removals from 2008-2011, dove during Gitschlagg's kill assessments in the early 90's (part of an MMS study) and have done some work for graduate classes regarding this situation that past two years. These platforms MUST be regarded as EFH and must be afforded protection under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. There has got to be some way to shift the liabilities for reefing in place-full reefing in place with removal of the living quarters/production deck only. Adding navigational aides to structurs that are already o the charts can't be that expensive, but I do understand the problems faced after hurricanes and tropical weather.
Many of the removals in that snapper sweet zone of 100-300 foot of water had in excess of 3-4 thousand 'red fish'(mostly red/grey/vermillion snapper as well as substantial populations of grouper and jack) on the surface alone. Given what we know of the numbers of fish that actually sink instead or float, these numbers are MUCH higher.
I'm not sure of the status of the 2 bills introduced in both the senate and house (Senate Bill S. 1555, “Rigs to Reef Habitat Protection Act”
House Bill H.R. 3429, “Rigs to Reef Habitat Protection Act”), but these are a good start?
The use of non-explosive means to sever the structures should be the rule as the other approach if these structures must be removed, especially in the 'snapper zone'.
As a photographer, I took photos at every removal and the images are awful. To know that all that fish is being left to rot-most does rot and isn't consumed by scavengers and predators-makes these removals by explosives a true environmental travesty.
Having done a whole lot of research on the subject for papers and presentations, I humbly offer my services.
Attached please find one of the photos I've taken of the fish kill. This was a subsea blast. The larger fish is a 7+foot tiger shark.
Thank you for staying on this most important matter. While many would argue that the oil and gas structures draw the fish from other habitats or that they weren't there in the first place and should not be considered in fish census, the naivety of those arguments can only be explained as people who have never been at removals and seen the impacts. I don't believe that there exists a reason to continue to remove these platforms using current techniques, nor can I understand how the substantial value these structures provide be ignored in these times when fish stocks are so depleted.
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2/11/2013 10:09:14Ed WalkerxxxxI might send a new stronger worded and more urgent letter, perhaps copied to both this Dept and its oveseeing body (not sure who that would be perhaps the White House or all of our Congressmen from the Gulf Coast). In my experience it is harder to ignore letters that are also going to ones boss. In this letter I would be explain that not only is the invertebrate growth (including protected corals) on these rigs being destroyed, red snapper which the federal government says are depleted to the point that recreational fishing is only allowed 27 days this year, are being killed and wasted by the tens or even hundreds of thousands. Continued explosive demolition endangers the current rebuliding plan drafted to return the stock to healty sustainable levels as mandated by the MSA.It is the job of this Council to rebuild our fish stocks and the current demo practices are turning back the clock on years of sacrifices by the recreational and commercial fishing community. Due to the limited number of red snapper the recreational public is allowed to harvest now, and our mandatory accountability measures, continued mass killings of these fish by your department could cause the publics fishing opportunity to be further reduced or even eliminated completely. We therefore request that the practice be stopped immediately and that your department either dedicate these structures as fish havens or devise less destructive removal methods that accomplish your goals without killing and wasting thousands upon thousands of our threatened fish stocks.
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2/11/2013 10:34:41Jason Descantjdescant@gmail.comhow many days does the Government get to blow up Red Snapper? more or less than 27?Clearwater, FLPrivate Recreational Angler
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2/11/2013 10:42:32Kimberly Chauvinkimchauvin@yahoo.comWhy wasn't all those involved (Commercial fishers, charter boat people and recreational anglers) informed that this was happening? How many regulations and rule changes have taken place while this programs continues to kill sea life with absolutely NO consequences?
There should have been a meeting with this federal agency on the issues at hand right after the letter of 2009. I would hope that there would be a meeting scheduled soon about this very issue with this agency. There needs to be a course of action and a walk/call/email to our congressional legislators asking for help in dealing with this major problem.
Chauvin, la 70344Commercial Fisher
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2/11/2013 11:16:40Artie Sutherlandartie_sutherland@yahoo.comThe dismantling of the structures is destruction of pure habitat for reef species. The Idle Iron policies are in place for a reason, but are being mismanaged and possibly abused for NOAA, Roy Crabtree, and others. The alternative of Rig to Reef, stated in the same management act (http://www.bsee.gov/Exploration-and-Production/Decomissioning/FAQ.aspx) is a much better option for the reef fish, the habitat, and the local economies.Gautier, MS 39553Private Recreational Angler
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2/11/2013 11:53:23stephen bushkotmubs@aol.comDisgusting that you still have a job . BLOWING up old rigs in the Gulf is stupidity,what can be expected from a person who is UNQUALIFIED for the job. Maybe you should sit on top of one of these old oil rigs to see the destruction you approve. Your answer is ???bluffton sc 29910Private Recreational Angler
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2/12/2013 6:49:33Mike FortunatoMike@offshoreapparel.comI saw the vid on the removal of the oil rigs. It is sickening to see that we are severely restricted with catch limits to the point where our industry is failing due to these regulations yet fed govt mandate to remove rigs is destroying the habitat for millions of reef fish that are also destroyed in the process. Unbelievable! Sickening! Land o lakes fl 34638Private Recreational Angler, Other
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2/20/2013 19:02:42Steve Phillipsstevesrq@Gmail.comPlease stop the slaughter of American Red Snapper.

Blowing up derilict oil rigs in killing thousands of pounds of this valued resource.

On another topic, How come the comnercial fisherman can catch as many as they want and I can only keep 2 for a very limited season.

Really. Whats up with that?
Sarasota, Fl 34236Private Recreational Angler
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2/21/2013 17:23:14frank westerman7dwarfs@bellsouth.netIt is disgusting that our government is killing so many fish and animals, destroying the oil rigs.Fishermen cant hardly keep any.hollywood fl 33021Private Recreational Angler
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3/1/2013 6:37:15johnwjolleyjolleyjw@yahoo.comThe venerable West Palm Beach Fishing Club is flabbergasted over the removal of old (idled) oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico and supports attempts to stop this crazy episode of management malfeasance. This is a perfect example of the quote," one hand not knowing what the other is doing." Current methodologies are destroying vital marine habitat and killing thousands of fish and fauna at a critical time when fishery management councils are desparately seeking solutions to sustain fish populations into the future. No wonder the public is losing confidence in government's ability to wisely manage its responsibilities. We need more creative, objective thinking to match the challanges we face today, and this fiasco in the Gulf is a perfect place to start! John W. Jolley, scientific advisor (WPBFC)boyntonbeach,fl,33436Private Recreational Angler, NGO
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3/14/2013 7:51:21Jerry Embreejerrysax@gmail.comThe underwater section of rigs support a column of life. Different species live at different depths to form an ecosystem. These rigs should remain in the water, top to bottom. This allow for habitat, which benefits both marine life and humans. Human Recreation using these sites contributes to the economy. Thank you for your consideration. Jerry EmbreeLacombe, LA 70445Private Recreational Angler
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3/31/2013 15:47:11GeraldMotleyPlease forward to all Gulf Council members:
Please save our major ecosystems, aka oil rigs in the Gulf. Since you are working for the government, you work for me. I demand that you come out and see what is living around and on these beautiful rigs before you allow a stupid rule from the Obama administration to destroy these great artificial reefs.
While you are looking at them, maybe you can count the red snapper that you say don't exist and realize how stupid your 27 day season really is.
Feel free to contact me to come out and fish and dive in the rigs.
If you can't make sensible, rational decisions based on good scince, please resign and let someone else do it.
Gerald Motley
Chattanooga, TN 37406Private Recreational Angler
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6/22/2013 20:01:00gerald mainesrkmglm@yahoo.comI think they should be left alone since you control this fishery so tight and say there are not that many red snapper ///// and you kill hundreds every time you blow one of these up you are taking there homes away and the homes of many outher fish you do not need to bother them leave them alone 34607 hernando beach flPrivate Recreational Angler
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7/26/2013 13:09:23brian raganbrian@raganbuilders.netI have been diving oil rigs off of the LA gulf coast for 5 years. I have been all over the world diving and no where has the fish population these rigs hold. The shade of the rigs contributes to the large number of tropical fish in the upper areas of the rigs. Please leave these rigs in tact and un molested as they are essential habitat. This is ludicrous that the government spends millions to establish habitat through artificial reefs then makes oil companies destroy existing habitat that is far superior. west monroe, la 71292Private Recreational Angler, Other
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7/26/2013 13:14:35Louis Rossignoldclouis@cox.netIt was an accident that the oil rigs off the coast of Louisiana turned out to be such an awesome marine environment, but now that they are, man can leave well enough alone. We are destroying our greatest resource and for what?

The rigs need to be left in place, the ones that aren't producing now, will probably produce in the future. The price of fuel will come down, and the marine life associated with the oil rigs will thrive.

Louis Rossignol
Hell Divers
LCUDC Director
Kenner, La. 70065Private Recreational Angler
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7/26/2013 13:34:28Stan Smithstanooo@msn.comI've dived from Bermuda to Bali and never in my 27yrs of diving ever seen more abundance of life than that under an oil platform. The Rigs to Reef
program does not work well. I have dived cut off platforms and the ecosystem
basically shuts down, the stucture must reach the surface to maintain the chain. If anyone destroyed reefs in the Florida Keys there would be an uproar and heads would roll. OUR OWN GOVERNMENT is destroying our reef habitat along with countless life including BLACK CORAL. A Caribbean company was fined $20mill for illegaly trading black coral and our PRESIDENT gives the Department of the Interior two thumbs up to do it in my back yard. These are the same idiots that in ten years will be spending millions of dollars to put artifical reefs in the Gulf after destroying what has taken decades to make.
New Orleans, LAPrivate Recreational Angler
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7/26/2013 18:09:30Paul Coziccozic@att.netIt appears that no one really knows how important the oil rigs are as EFH! Therefore, the least that should happen is a moratorium on the removal of the rigs until it can be determined how essential they are for fish, coral and endangered populations, etc. Another point that should be noted is the structure itself has nothing to do with the well that has been capped below the sea floor. Leaving the structure does not add to the chance of an oil or gas leak. If we do remove all the rigs and then discover they were essential to our fisheries it will take another 50 years to correct the problem.
Paul Cozic
President
Helldivers Spearfishing Club
Kenner, La 70065Private Recreational Angler, Other
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7/27/2013 2:47:17Captain Henry HauchCaptain_Henry@ACME-Ventures-Fishing.comTo start with I ask a question: from the moment this is written (07-27-13), to the time it was read, or even better, acted on, how many rigs were explosively removed? How many fish killed? Inverts, Coral Colonies? Turtles? Dolphins? Of those not killed, how many future generations of this marine life is impacted with the loss of the habitat. If a commercial or recreational fisherman caused such wanton destruction of marine life, what would be the consequences? If a private citizen killed so many marine creatures in one action would they be held accountable? The fact that NOAA has environmental oversight of this destruction, and a NMFS rep is part of the council is beyond mind boggling. While NOAA and the NMFS may not have jurisdiction over the other agencies, they do have it over the fish and marine mammals being destroyed, but choose to do nothing. Whatever it takes to immediately stop this destruction needs done. Really, until this drawn out, lengthily process takes place, the council should petition the courts for a stay in the destruction until management measures can be considered. As is implied in this letter, its more than just the countless thousands of marine creatures being killed with each blast, but the habitat that not only supports that generation, but the loss of future generations as a result. Its really unthinkable that US fishery managers have allowed this long to pass without having done more than write a few letters. the death or loss of but marine mammal should be enough to have action taken, but really, how many THOUSANDS Of Red Snapper, Grouper, Triggerfish, Amberjack are being killed with each blast? What if the spawning loss of those killed fish? Despite the claim by some that artificial structure simply 'attracts' fish, We know better. The rare Corals that take decades to grow indicate that those rigs being destroyed are truly marine habitats, supporting their own marine ecosystem from Corals and Sponges, to Crustations, Finfish and Marine Mammals. The time to end this destruction was years ago, but now especially with the executive order to accelerate this destruction does immediate action need taken. This cannot wait, and must be given 'emergency rule' consideration. To allow the needless destruction of OUR Marine resources to continue would be a grievous dereliction of duties as Stewards of the Ocean.lPrivate Recreational Angler, Charter/Headboat For-Hire
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7/27/2013 6:10:12Mark A. Wilsonmarkawilson@cox.netI own a 41' Hatteras sport fish docked in Port Fourchon and we fish and dive the rigs to 60 miles offshore in the WD, GI, ST and SS areas. The removal of rigs is a CRIME. The rigs are essential fish habitat in LA. The status quo is unacceptable. It will be easy to establish this EFH, but there MUST be a moratorium on rig removal right this second until you can establish the linkage to habitat to fish abundance. They are removing essential habitat at a frightening rate.
PLEASE GET A MORATORIUM IN PLACE NOW TO STOP REMOVAL until you get the EFH and management rules in place. Thank you
Baton Rouge, LA 70810Private Recreational Angler
75
7/28/2013 7:16:07tom adams4tomadams@gmail.comThese rigs if they are a navigational hazrd should be taken out with hydraulic shears or cutting torches--not explosives if explosives are used they rig owners should pay for each fish, turtle porpoise ect just like fishermen do when they take fish out of season, or go over their daily bag limit. That cost is 252.00/per fish Killing a dolphin goes way up into the thousands as well as turtles.as well as jail time. Explosives should be banned or the company should pay for the destruction they cause..port st joe, flPrivate Recreational Angler, Charter/Headboat For-Hire
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7/29/2013 16:20:15Daniel McGrawdpmcgraw@gmail.comThe rig structures off the U.S. Gulf Coast provide many species an extensive three-dimensional habitat that could only harm fish populations if removed in great numbers. The aquatic environment created by 100 to 200+ foot submerged vertical structures with multiple large diameter pipe supports is unprecedented, and the barnacles and micro-organisms that form on these structures begin the food chain for vast quantities of aquatic life that many have reported in published works as being unparalleled in quantity and size. The removal of each rig diminishes the fish population in two major ways: first, the permanent removal of a home for thousands of fish, and tens to hundreds of thousands of smaller organisms that latch on to the rigs; and second, the explosive demolition that kills thousands of animals instantly. Rig demolition crews will also comment on the carnage seen after they get finished “removing” a rig. These numbers are under-reported by the government, and this is a shame.

Ultimately, I am a scuba diver in Louisiana who has seen the amazing and diverse population of fish below these rigs, and I also know that I cannot enjoy watching or fishing if there is not a fish population. Environmentalists, preservationalists, and fishermen alike all share the same goal with regard to the gulf: maintain healthy fish populations. To do this, habitats cannot be destroyed, and it must be understood that existing rigs that have ceased production provide zero additional risk as opposed to removing the structure itself. A capped and plugged well has no dependency and is not affected in any way by the structure built around it. The structure simply provides life that is amazing to behold, and it would be a shame to destroy all of that with each rig.
Gonzales, LA, 70737Private Recreational Angler
77
7/31/2013 3:01:20Dean Jacobsonatolldino@yahoo.comPlease be pragmatic, these solid structures are rich habitat for so many invert and verts... it makes sense to protect this newly (geologically speaking) habitat, now that it is here and thriving. Do what it takes for navigational safety, it is worth the money (esp after the Deep Water Horizon poisoned so much of the bottom!)Majuro MH 96960Other
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8/1/2013 16:54:10Daniel Fortierdanielfortier123@gmail.comI have been a recreational angler my entire life and a scuba diver for ten years. I have SCUBA dove in Puerto Rico, Aruba, Jamaica, The Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Florida Keys, Florida Pan handle, and of course the Louisiana Oil and gas platforms. Anyone who has dove the beautiful reefs of the Caribbean can tell you that those habitats don’t support 10% the variety or number of fish and life as the vertical reef produces by an oil and gas platform.
The platforms of the LA coast are the single greatest artificial reef system ever creates on planet earth. The platforms Combined with the nutrients flowing out of the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers and the wetland estuaries of south LA, form the greatest circle of life in the Gulf of Mexico. You would destroy less habitat and coral throwing an anchor all over the Florida Key’s reefs than you would blowing up a single platform. Tearing down these platforms should not only be stopped, but should be a crime.
If even 10% of the effort that is put into regulating the fisheries of the gulf was put into saving the platforms, the overall fisheries would be much better off. You must absolutely protect these amazing ecosystems and you must expedite your process and decision making. We have many issues in the fisheries world today: over fishing, pollution, and destruction of wildlife habitat. The gulf council must support protecting the platforms, or else be seen as part of the problem not the solution.
Destrehan, LA, 70047Private Recreational Angler
79
11/7/2013 15:55:05Dan Calahandcalahan@charter.netThe rigs are essential marine habitat. They need to be kept.Covington, LA 70433Private Recreational Angler
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11/8/2013 11:57:54Kevin NashKevin@nashac.comHow can the federal Government think they can simply put quotas on a species and think this will help the general population of that species all the while they are talking away their habitat. If we kill the food chain and the habitat then it’s all gone. The barnacle growth completely stops around 20 feet. The “rig to reef” program does not help because the food chain starts from 1 to 15 feet. This is evident by the barnacle growth and the abundance of life within the shallower water. River RidgePrivate Recreational Angler, Other
81
11/9/2013 10:53:52Scott Johnsonfishprinting@gmail.comWhy destroy essential marine habitat. Habitat that was put there with the intention to remove oil and gas from the GOM and it turned into some very productive fishing grounds that a lot of people can and do enjoy. After diving and spearfishing here for seven years I find it hard to believe that the Department of the Interior can come up with one good reason to destroy what many consider to be some of the most productive fishing areas in the US if not the world, and at the same time destroy all of the fish and coral that call these rigs home. Coral and fish that the federal government say are endangered. I can't kill coral and I can't keep certain fish my gov't tells me are endangered but yet the gov't allows the destruction of all this productive habitat. It just does not make sense. Furthermore the rigs to reefs program does not work as the most essential part of the platform is removed. Leave these rigs alone. DiamondheadPrivate Recreational Angler
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11/12/2013 7:29:34CYRIL GONZALESBIGC70092@COX.NETI firmly believe that offshore oil and gas structures are an essential fish habitat that needs to be maintained and preserved. I am an avid diver and have personally witness the spawning of red snapper while diving. This leads me to conclude that many other species are spawning at these rigs. The rigs offer food and protection for fish and corals. If removed, only a soft muddy bottom is left which support nothing. Also, the most productive part of the structures is the top 60 feet. If toppled, minimal live is present in the deep part of the rigs. To remain the best and most productive form of a essential fish habitat, the structure needs to remain in place above the water line. Simply adding anodes and maintaining the lights and horns will allow these structures to aid in rebuilding any declining fish stocks. The removal of habitat will not aid in this goal. Please consider declaring these offshore platforms essential fish habitats so they can continue to aid in the increase of the fish and coral stock in the gulf of mexico.GRETNA, LA 70056Private Recreational Angler
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11/14/2013 8:43:16Benjamin Roth Ben@archangelspearfishing.comI am an avid freediver, so we get to see all the marine life living on the platforms. Baitfish to pelagics, turtles, sharks, and porpoises. At the oil platforms we see the most fish in the first 100 feet from the surface. 99% of the fish we take are at the platforms. They are essential to the fishing in our area! Let's keep them fully intact!Lafayette, La 70503Private Recreational Angler
84
11/14/2013 10:33:14Landon Marchandlmmarchand2@yahoo.comI am a recreational diver that great enjoys the sport. Of all the locations that I have dove in numerous different countries, the rigs have always provided the best dives with the most aquatic life. The sights underneith the rigs are amazing. I have noticed over the last couple years that half the rigs that I once dove are now gone. That includes huge amounts of reefs that provide the habitat for millions of fish and other creatures. Please consider this and work to save the rigs.

Thanks for your time,

Landon Marchand
-Recreational Diver
Gonzales, LA, 70737Private Recreational Angler
85
11/14/2013 10:37:08Joshua P Garygaryjosh@rocketmail.comAs the historian of the Archangel Dive Club (Lafayette, LA) and a member of the LCUDC, I would like to say that there is a large thriving community of anglers and spearfishermen/women who consider these petroleum platforms to be just as important as natural reefs for the abundance of marine life that thrive off of the Louisiana coast. Taking away the decommissioned rigs in their entirety or even leaving a partial platform is going to decrease that abundance dramatically. Louisiana will not only suffer monetarily because of the effects to the economy from the decrease in fishing related tourism; it will cease to be regarded as a "Sportsman's Paradise" because the food chain will not be strong enough to support the world class fishing that takes place around these platforms which, along with hunting, is one criterion that essentially defines the term and our lifestyle. Breaux Bridge, LA 70517Other
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11/14/2013 11:04:07Justin BarnhillBigbarn8266@gmail.comIt's pretty wild that we're even having to bring this up. Time and time again, studies show that the oil platforms produce a vast ecosystem capable of supporting nearly every species of marine life in the gulf including many types of corals that you can't even touch elsewhere, yet the oil industry continues to remove the platforms(as well as all life on them) with explosives. The oil platforms should be declared EFH's. Period. Private Recreational Angler
87
11/14/2013 13:09:57Patrick Hebertabe351@gmail.comThe decommissioning and removal of offshore oil platforms destroys essential fish habitat. As a diver and an offshore fisherman I have seen firsthand what an important part of the offshore ecosystem these offshore platforms hold. The platforms need to be left in place and not removed and hauled ashore destroying the entire essential fish habitat. There are endangered species of coral on these platforms that take many years to grow. How can the removal of these corals be permitted offshore when the use of a whole forest can be denied over a single bird species? I feel that all offshore oil platforms should be left in place or at a minimum it be required that they are used in the current “rig to reef program”Metairie, LA 70003Private Recreational Angler
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11/15/2013 8:08:54Daniel McGrawdpmcgraw@gmail.comOil rigs and platforms off the Gulf Coast of the United States serve as a remarkable fish habitat that must be preserved. I am a scuba diver, and I have been diving off the coast of Florida, in the Caribbean, and on the rigs outside of Louisiana. I have never seen more variety and quantity of fish than on the rigs off the coast of LA. The habitat there is more conducive to fish species than any natural reef on the floor of the ocean, and allows for all species to thrive. These structures also provide small animals the ability to hide, which increases chance for survival against larger predators. This allows for more aquatic species to reach maturity and reproduce.

Rigs are 3-D reefs, providing a means for the food chain from 100 to 1000+ feet down with a footprint of up to 50+ yards square. A rig that is in 600 feet of water that is 50 yards square is a reef that covers 13.5 MILLION cubic feet, all for fish to thrive. Every rig demolished destroys a reef of this magnitude.

The question here isn't IF rigs are essential fish habitats, it's whether the government will allow themselves to not be too short sighted and designate the rigs as EFHs - a designation that finally makes this already occuring natural habitat "official". They must be protected. Please protect the fish of the Gulf and their habitats!
Gonzales, LA 70737Private Recreational Angler
89
11/16/2013 15:32:42Joe WegmannJwegmann1@cox.netI am not sure what else could be said for these incredible offshore structures to be finally recognized as the most prolific artificial reefs ever developed and protected as such!! The amount of money and time that was necessary to create these towers of life will never be justifiable under any other circumstances. The financial gain realized from these platforms by the most profitable companies the world has ever known is mind boggling . Now that this infrastructure has reached its usefulness for the petroleum companies, we are to believe that they can now not afford to transition them to permanent artificial reefs. PLEASE KNOW, each and every one of you on the council has been tasked as our representatives to protect our PUBLIC resources. The real question now, is do you have what it takes to stand up and fight for what we all know is the most biologically diverse artificial ecosystems in the world!! Thank you for your time and consideration!! Baton Rouge, la 70817Private Recreational Angler
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11/17/2013 6:20:41Darren Bourgeoistoohawaiin4u@yahoo.comOffshore oil platforms provide essential fish habitat. The current administrations “idle iron program” is not the answer or the correct use of these structures. As a diver and an offshore fisherman I have seen firsthand what an important part of the offshore ecosystem these offshore platforms hold. The platforms need to be left in place and not removed and hauled ashore destroying the entire essential fish habitat. There are endangered species of coral on these platforms that take many years to grow. How can the removal of these corals be permitted offshore when the use of a whole forest can be denied over a single bird species? I feel that all offshore oil platforms should be left in place or at a minimum it be required that they are used in the current “rig to reef program”
Darren "Gumby" Bourgeois
Sea Tigers Spearfishing Club
Member LCUDC
Bridge City, La 70094Private Recreational Angler
91
11/18/2013 6:46:50Raleigh Bourgrbourg3@gmail.comThe habitat that the rigs create for aquatic species is second to none. Everything from coral to apex predators thrive on the artificial structure through the height of the water column. Continuing to allow their removal, degradates the rich habitat and diversity of our gulf. Protection of idle rigs should be a top priority of this council.

New Orleans, LA 70062Private Recreational Angler
92
11/18/2013 11:21:25joel mcqueenjoejoelmcqueen@htn.netplease see the commonm sense in leaveing the oil platforms as artifical reefs and understand that the destruction ..by explosives is killing thousands if not millions of fish and other creatures 33875Private Recreational Angler
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11/18/2013 14:58:42Rafe Antillrantill@att.netI have been diving on the offshore structures for the past 25 years. I have records of every single dive in that time period tracking fish migrations and congregations. I'm not going to discuss whether or not these platforms are EFH's. Its a no brainer. I think the real issue is liability and responsibility for the structures after they are no longer producing. After all wells are plugged and abandoned and all pipelines disconnected and all pollution hazards removed they should be left standing NOT toppled. I have dove many toppled platforms in the rigs to reef program and they are for the most part just barren structure. We don't dive them because there is nothing there. Getting back to liability. I understand that the platforms will continue to corrode and deteriorate therefore couldn't be accessed to maintain aids to navigation. Navaids could be put on buoys surrounding the structure such as the Flower Garden Banks national marine sanctuary.
With the millions, more likely billions saved by the oil companies in not having to remove these platforms, why can't this money go into a perpetual fund to maintain the navaids for the platforms? It would employee many people and vessels. Basically creating a new industry that would be self financed. Why wouldn't this work?
Rafe Antill
President
Louisiana Council of Underwater Dive Clubs
Houma Louisiana 70360Other
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11/19/2013 9:58:05Thomas L Talbottreytalbot@hotmail.comI think all platforms should stay!! These platforms are without a doubt the best artficial reefs on the planet. If we take these platforms down the fish will leave. Louisiana is know for being the sportmans paradise. Louisiana would not be a paradise if it were not for our man made reefs, the Gulf Oil Rigs! The destruction of these platforms is just plain ole stupid!Lafayette, LA 70503Private Recreational Angler
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3/4/2014 16:20:54Gerald Motleymotleycru@att.netTo all Council members:
As an avid fisherman in the Gulf for twenty years, I cannot tell you how much these oil and gas platforms add to the amount of life in the Gulf. When you can pull up to one and drop a line down, you never know what you may catch, but you can be assured that you will catch something. I started taking my oldest son when he was eight and he is now twenty seven. My youngest has started going now and I want him to be able to see all the marine life that the Gulf has to offer.
These platforms are home to all kinds of fish and mammals as well as coral and so many other things. Please preserve them before it is too late.
Act swiftly to preserve the future of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem.
Thank you.
Gerald Motley
Chattanooga, TN 37406Private Recreational Angler
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4/16/2014 16:30:06Gerald Motleymotleycru@att.netPlease post to ALL Gulf Council members:
Please stop lolly gagging around and get this amendment passed as quickly as possible. The longer you delay, the more habitat the Obama administration is destroying. I have seen more life on these structures than I ever saw offshore in Florida.
Please save our fishing.
Thank you.
Gerald Motley
Chattanooga, TN 37406Private Recreational Angler
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4/28/2014 12:10:59Warner Fosterjwkillntime@gmail.comAmendment # 1 should be adopted. Why, unless the structures are in very deep water they are moved by storms. Case in point the huge air craft carrier the USS Oriskany, 904 feet long was sunk in 135 feet of water off Pensacola, Fl. and moved by a category 2 hurricane Gustav. If a category 2 hurricane can move something that large then smaller storms or just high waves can move much smaller structures. Also, structures near sandy areas are very often covered up and may or may not reappear. I know of old hard Coral reefs between Panama City and Destin, Fl. which were covered by sand years ago and are still covered. Don't believe you have the funds to monitor all the structures on a regular basis.

One last comment. The practice of using explosives to dismantle oil and/or gas rigs must be stopped. It is an established fact that fish congregate around these rigs. It is documented that the concussion from the explosives killed unknown quantities of fish.
Thank You,
Warner
Warner
32405Private Recreational Angler
98
5/22/2014 13:19:28Scott Smithpierre30011@yahoo.comThis would not be a question/consideration if the councils actually went and visited (fished or dive) on the rigs. Rigs to reef program works.Statham, GA 30666Private Recreational Angler
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