The future of RFRI is a bright one.
The restoration of fish habitat and increased data collection of “citizen scientists” through past programs like the Bay Ronquille inshore artificial reef and Louisiana Cooperative Marine Sportfish Tagging Program allowed for the public’s direct participation in education and conservation. With new advances in technology, citizen scientists have more availability to this data and the ability to share their experiences than ever before. These same advances in technology have provided researchers with new ways to begin gathering data as well.
RFRI is exploring a pilot program that will conduct monitoring of fish assemblages found near standing offshore oil rigs. Updated methods of data collection like video, sonar, and acoustic telemetry will be utilized to analyze behaviors and orientation of popular recreationally targeted species around standing industry structures along the Louisiana coast.
The purpose of this pilot program is to inevitably develop a long-term program focused on utilizing these technologically sound data collection methods to better understanding the species surrounding these offshore structures and providing opportunities for open communication between recreational anglers and oil industry professionals.
Other key topics incorporated in the development of this program focus on:
- Educating anglers on safety precautions and information on how to contact the rig in case of an emergency
- Coexistence between anglers and the oil and gas industry in a courteous and respectful environment, and
- Providing two-way communications between anglers and the industry through the internet and social media outlets
To ensure this important information is developed and distributed to user groups, additional funding is necessary. As the previous programs in “Our History” have demonstrated, RFRI is capable of spearheading complex data collection efforts and providing anglers information that will help them understand their important role as a recreational angler and their responsibility as a conservationist of the resource.
To contribute to the development of this program, please email RFRI at RFRI@charter.net.