In 1984, the US Congress enacted the National Fisheries Enhancement Act (NAFE). This law promoted efforts to increase fish populations and created the mechanism by which the states can enact artificial reef programs. In 1986 and 1990 Louisiana and Texas created their respective artificial reef programs. Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries created its program by designating specific artificial reef planning areas. Texas’ Parks and Wildlife (TPW) reef sites are not pre-defined, as are those in Louisiana. The Operator can petition TPWD to create a specific location as part of the artificial reef program.
This presentation will discuss the history of the Rigs to Reefs programs as well as the current legislation being promoted to enhance, revise and promote the current and future programs. Current studies citing the benefits to the marine environment will also be discussed. The presentation will conclude by outlining the decommissioning methods available when reefing a platform.