This paper was prepared for the Second Biennial Symposium on Environmental Conservation presented by the Evangeline Section of the Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME, to be held in Lafayette, La., Nov. 13–14, 1972. Permission to copy is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words. Illustrations may not be copied. The abstract should contain conspicuous acknowledgment of where and by whom the paper is presented. Publication elsewhere after publication in the JOURNAL paper is presented. Publication elsewhere after publication in the JOURNAL OF PETROLEUM TECHNOLOGY or the SOCIETY OF PETROLEUM ENGINEERS JOURNAL is usually granted upon request to the Editor of the appropriate journal provided agreement to give proper credit is made. provided agreement to give proper credit is made. Discussion of this paper is invited. Three copies of any discussion should be sent to the Society of Petroleum Engineers office. Such discussion may be presented at the above meeting and, with the paper, may be considered for publication in one of the two SPE magazines.
Everyday there are fishermen who leave a coastal Louisiana port and venture offshore to test their skills on some of the finest fishing in the United States. Almost without exception these fishermen go to platforms established by the petroleum industry. They go there because the fish are concentrated at or near the "rigs", as the platforms are known to the fishermen.
The rigs provide food and shelter for marine life, offer protection for the fisherman should a boat-breakdown or severe weather endanger him, and offer navigational aids to the mariner.
The offshore petroleum industry has created other influences in the Gulf which favor the sport and commercial fishermen. Burning flares attract fish at night and create a place where fish may be caught. Abandoned platform locations and rig sites are excellent places to find fish. Underwater completion installations are havens for fish and are fished by commercial and sport fishermen. Pipelines along the Gulf floor create bottom expressions along which fish concentrate. Underwater vents which allow volatiles to bubble to the surface offer one of the unique fishing holes in the Gulf.
Commercial fishing, as well as sport fishing, has increased in the Gulf since the offshore petroleum industry was born in 1947 off Grande Isle. Gulf landings doubled from 1940 to 1950. They doubled again from 1950 to 1960. They increased 31% from 1960 to 1970. Of these Gulf landings, Louisiana, with her offshore platforms, has supplied the bulk. In 1969, Louisiana supplied 62% of the total Gulf catch, which amounted to 23% of the total U.S. catch. No state surpasses Louisiana's annual catch.
Offshore Louisiana is a growing attraction for fishing vessels from other states and nations. These boats come because the waters off Louisiana are where the fish are concentrated. Louisiana's waters are so rich that they have created new fisheries for the U.S. A good example is the trawl fishery for large croaker.
The Atlantic fishery has declined 66% since 1960. The Gulf fishery has increased greatly. Although the Atlantic fishermen have the same advanced technology available to Gulf fishermen, their landings have decreased. This points out that Gulf waters are richer in marine life, and Louisiana's waters are the richest of all.