The following is courtesy of the Coastal Conservation Association of California:
The Coastal Conservation Association of California Works to Support Blue Latitudes Foundation in Their Efforts to Understand the Value of Oil Rigs as Fisheries Habitats
CCA CAL partners with Blue Latitudes Foundation in the hopes to convert decommissioned oil platforms to fishing habitat to benefit ocean anglers
The Coastal Conservation Association of California (CCA-CAL), the largest non-profit organization tasked with looking after the interests of recreational anglers, is encouraging all recreational fishers in Southern California to participate in an online survey conducted by Blue Latitudes Foundation. CCA-CAL hopes that the information gathered from these surveys will positively influence regulators to convert decommissioned oil and gas platforms to reefs.
Many environmental and political organizations have been calling for the end of offshore drilling in California in an effort to protect the California marine ecosystem and promote alternative energy resources. In 2021, the Biden administration announced its intention to permanently end all offshore oil and gas operations and end an era of offshore drilling that started in the 1960s. California has 27 offshore platforms, many of which are scheduled to be removed in the next 5- to 10 years.
Recreational anglers have benefitted from the marine habitats created by these oil platforms over the past decades. Research has identified 79 fish species in the midwaters of these structures, including calico bass, rockfish, cabezon, and sheephead.
“As regulators evaluate how various stakeholders value these platforms and better understand how their removal might impact them, recreational anglers must make their voices heard,” says Wayne Kotow, executive director of CCA CAL.
Through the online survey, Blue Latitudes Foundation is conducting an analysis to assess how California’s commercial and recreational fishermen utilize the fisheries resources associated with offshore oil and gas platforms. “CCA CAL recommends that members and all recreational anglers participate in this survey,” Kotow adds.
The California State Lands Commission, an organization committed to public safety and environmental protection, will take a lead role in determining the future of California’s oil and gas platforms. The State Commission has assured the public that they will conduct a transparent and collaborative process with the local communities and stakeholders.
“Recreational anglers have lost a lot of fishing access to MPAs and regulations in recent years.” Kotow says. “That’s why CCA CAL is committed to work with the State Lands Commission to ensure it knows who we are as stakeholders and encourage regulators to convert these platforms into thriving artificial reef habitats all anglers can access and enjoy.”
Blue Latitudes Foundation will be conducting stakeholder surveys through the end of September 2022 and hopes to gather as much feedback as possible from recreational anglers. Ultimately, this project will have a positive impact on the fishing community in Southern California by not only educating fishers, but also giving them a portal through which their voices may be heard regarding the future of the fisheries resources provided by California’s oil and gas platforms.
About CCA CAL: The Coastal Conservation Association of California was created in 2015 when recreational anglers and outdoors enthusiasts came together to work for the conservation and enhancement of our marine resources and coastal environments. Today, the CCA-CAL is working to protect not only the health, habitat, and sustainability of our marine resources, as well as the interests of saltwater anglers. Our goal is to protect your access to the marine resource you cherish and enjoy every day. CCA-CAL consists of members spread across seven local chapters in Southern California and growing every day.
About Blue Latitudes Foundation: Founded in 2018, The Blue Latitudes Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization organized exclusively for charitable, educational, and scientific purposes. We elevate the traditional concept of ocean stewardship by uniting government, industry and the community to work together to conserve our oceans! In doing so, this foundation strives to explore innovative solutions to traditional marine conservation challenges.