[Coral-List] Underwater Video of Offshore Platforms in theGulf of Mexico (Wendy Cyriacks)

Dokken, Dr. Quenton qdokken at gulfmex.org
Thu Oct 9 11:12:45 EDT 2008

Good Morning,

Gene is right; and it is time we get real not only about energy policy but
also about the complete picture of degradation and loss of our marine
resources.  Earlier communications implied that offshore oil/gas exploration
will destroy the pristine coastal environments of Florida. Tell me, what
happened to the reefs of the Florida Keys?  There is no o/g industry in the
Keys.  Promoting conservation and land-use planning for sustainable quality
of life I travel all 11 Gulf States of the U.S. and Mexico and the U.S.
Caribbean Territories. Everywhere I go I see coastal habitats being
destroyed more by on-shore infrastructure development than offshore o/g

Infrastructure to support tourism (hotels, condominiums, restaurants, putt
putt golf courses, paved roads, etc), ports, recreational marinas, shore
side businesses and industries, and homes on the beach are more of a threat
to the quality, quantity, and sustainability of coastal habitats than
offshore oil/gas activities.  Yet, political and business leaders,
real-estate developers, bankers, etc continuously wave the flag of more
growth!  The rallying mantra is "a community not growing is a dying
community."  On the islands of the Caribbean the push is for more tourist
infrastructure, more million dollar homes on the hill sides, more marinas,
more paved roads, more - more - more followed by a lot of hand wringing
because shore side habitats are decorated with trash and the once crystal
clear water of the bays is turning brown with algae.  

Then when a natural event such as a hurricane wipes out this expensive
infrastructure and litters coastal habitats with millions of tons of human
debris, we tax the citizens to rebuild "bigger and better!"  We call these
"natural" disasters - there is nothing natural about them.  Hurricanes are
natural phenomena; the disaster is entirely man made!  And, demographers
tell us that the national population continues to migrate toward the shores.

For the foreseeable future offshore oil/gas production is here to stay.
Yes, it needs to be managed to have the least environmental footprint
possible.  And, I don't know of anyone in the o/g industry who would dispute
this point.  They get it!  They are fully invested in environmental
sustainability.  They also will agree that we need to be developing
alternative energy sources and more efficient use of hydrocarbon energy
sources.  Some of these o/g companies are leading efforts to develop
alternative energy sources. 

The other industries, tourism, ports, marinas, food service, home builders,
banking, etc, are here to stay too.  They need to be involved in
environmental planning just as much as the offshore o/g industry.  No one
industry can be blamed for all the ills we face.  So the challenge and
greatest need is to honestly identify the impact of each industry and use
long-term land use planning to minimize these impacts.  This is the only way
we will achieve coastal communities that will provide a sustainable quality
of life.   

Quenton Dokken, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Gulf of Mexico Foundation, Inc.
PMB 51  5403 Everhart Rd.
Corpus Christi, TX 78411

361-442-6064 cell

qdokken at gulfmex.org

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Gene Shinn
Sent: Wednesday, October 08, 2008 11:23 AM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: [Coral-List] Underwater Video of Offshore Platforms in theGulf of
Mexico (Wendy Cyriacks)

Oh Wendy, You must have known you were pushing my buttons. It is 
attitudes like this that have forced us to be so dependant on oil 
from unfriendly sources. Yes the fish, sponges, corals, lobster and 
countless other organisms flock to, and depend on, these Rigs. There 
are about 4,000 artificial reefs like these in the Gulf of Mexico. 
Just multiply what you saw in the videos by 4,000! Have you watched 
the Sylvia Earl Kerr McGee TV commercials? Are there any natural 
reefs in that area that support such abundant fish life? Not really, 
Just hundreds of square miles of mud and sand bottom that can no 
longer be dragged for shrimp and by-catch because of the rigs. Yes we 
do need to educate the politicians. Many have painted themselves in a 
corner to garner votes while NGS have used the issue to fill their 
coffers. Now they all need a graceful way out. Maybe these videos 
will help educate them.
      FYI, Thirty eight exploratory wells have already been drilled in 
the moratorium area off Florida's west coast before the moratorium 
went into effect and 14 were drilled in the Florida Keys, Three of 
them were drilled directly on coral reefs, the last one in 1960. Was 
the area destroyed? Not that I know of.  Caribbean-wide coral demise 
did not begin until the late 1970s and especially between 1983-1984, 
years after the  Florida Keys wells were drilled. Not enough oil was 
found to be economic back then but there maybe gas that was not worth 
the effort until now. I suspect fishermen would love to have some 
rigs within 15 miles of shore (you would not even see them from 
shore). They sure love them off Louisiana and Texas. And hey, I seem 
to remember that Tenneco placed 3 old rigs underwater off your area 
to serve as artificial fishing reefs. Ask the divers what they see 
out there. Or you can read our study about them. (Shinn, E.A., 
Wicklund, R., 1989 Observations on deep water artificial fishing 
reefs from Research Submersible, Bull Mar Sci. V, 44 (2) p. 
1041-1050).  Gene


No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
University of South Florida
Marine Science Center (room 204)
140 Seventh Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
<eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
Tel 727 553-1158---------------------------------- 
Coral-List mailing list
Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

No virus found in this incoming message.
Checked by AVG. 
Version: 7.5.524 / Virus Database: 270.7.6/1716 - Release Date: 10/9/2008
9:44 AM

No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG. 
Version: 7.5.524 / Virus Database: 270.7.6/1716 - Release Date: 10/9/2008
9:44 AM

More information about the Coral-List mailing list