Rigs to Reefs Program

Rick Grigg rgrigg at iniki.soest.hawaii.edu
Tue Oct 31 13:35:09 EST 2000


	I am all in favor of artificial reefs, but, only if they are
off-limits to fishing.  With this built in protection, everyone wins,
including the fish.
					Rick Grigg, University of Hawaii

At 09:16 PM 10/30/00 -0500, John McManus wrote:
>Now that we know that 60% of the world's fisheries are overfished (at or
>beyond MSY, which most modern fisheries scientists consider to be
>overfished), a major consideration in evaluating the wisdom of putting in
>artificial reefs is the contribution of the structures to enhancing
>overfishing. If you can find a place that is not fished (good luck!), this
>is not a problem. In a special edition of the Bullletin of Marine Science
>several years ago, Jeff Polovina rightfully pointed out that most
>artificial reefs are put in after a fishing ground has been overfished -
>i.e. after the original stock biomass has already been reduced by on the
>order of 50%. This casts doubt on the need to "provide more habitat
>space". Many artificial reefs acquire large fish, often 2 to 15 years old,
>within a few months of placement, usually from natural habitats. Thus, it
>is crucial to determine whether or not stocks to be fished from the
>structures are already overfished before the structures make the fish more
>accessible to fishers. This is by no means a blanket condemnation of
>artificial reefs, but more a plea to be certain the structures are indeed
>assets rather than detriments to proper fisheries management.
>A positive side of the structures is that they can sometimes be used to
>limit trawling, especially illegal trawling, and thus can have a positive
>effect on fisheries management. This has reportedly been the case in the
>Gulf of Thailand and along the coast of Cebu, Philippines.
>Of course there have also been cases of people trying to replace natural
>reefs that have died due to chronic stresses, without first alleviating
>those stresses. The same stresses then often plague ecological communities
>on the structures.  And, there is often a need to carefully evaluate the
>cost of putting in the structure (boat time, labor costs, etc.) against the
>alternative of investing in improved coastal management. In some cases, the
>funds could not be so diverted, and thus the problem is moot. However, with
>government funding, this is sometimes a concern.
>Artificial reefs are management tools, and, like many management tools, must
>be carefully applied based on thorough before and after investigations.
>For more on this, see :
>McManus, J.W. 1995. Future prospects for artificial reefs in the
>Philippines. In: J.L. Munro and M.C. Balgos (eds.) Artificial Reefs in the
>Philippines. ICLARM Conf. Proc. 49.
>John W. McManus, PhD
>Director, National Center for Caribbean Coral Reef Research (NCORE)
>Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (RSMAS)
>University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway
>Miami, Florida 33149.
>jmcmanus at rsmas.miami.edu
>Tel. (305) 361-4609
>Fax (305) 361-4600
> -----Original Message-----
>From: 	owner-coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
>[mailto:owner-coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov]  On Behalf Of
>reskudiver at aol.com
>Sent:	Tuesday, October 24, 2000 12:12 AM
>To:	coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
>Subject:	Rigs to Reefs Program
>    My name is Drew Morris and I am currently a law student at the Penn
>University, Dickinson School of Law. I am also an associate editor of the
>Dickinson Journal of Environmental Law and Policy.  I am doing research on
>rigs to reef programs, specifically the legislation S.B. 241 in California -
>the leaving of Oil rigs in the water as a means of preserving the artificial
>    I am beginning to gain a true understanding of the issues presented her.
>Although I am ignorant to most of the Biology involved, I have read (and
>attempted to understand) numerous reports of the Gulf rigs to reef programs
>and the positive environmental and ecological effects that the program is
>having.  I understand that the Pacific Ocean is a whole "beast" in and of
>own, and very little study has been done on this topic in that geographic
>area.  I have some information on some preliminary studies regarding this
>subject, and as it looks now, both the rainforest analogy as well as the
>minimal scientific data avaliable makes it look like a positive
>plan.  What do all of you think? I need some help.
>    I have dug up the necessary federal and state statutes regarding the
>legal ability to do this kind of program.  It looks like it can fly from
>standpoint.  I can not, however, find any case law regarding any kind of
>liability that can be imposed here, heck I can't even figure out what kind
>legal problems can arise because the State is suggesting a "no-take" area
>the fishes with the exception of a special scientific research permit.
>    As an active member of R.E.E.F., an avid scuba diver, and a "want-to-be"
>marine biologist, I am fascinated by all sides of this issue and want to
>present all sides of the issue fairly.  I hope that you can help me.  Thank
>you very much.
>            Sincerely,
>                Drew A. Morris
>                reskudiver at aol.com
>                527 South Pitt Street Apt. 16
>                Carlisle, PA 17013
>                717-960-0344

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