The role of fishermen and other stakeholders in the North Sea rigs-to-reefs debate

Mark Samuel Peter Baine, Jonathan Charles Side

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

The North Sea rigs-to-reefs debate has moved forward with the formation of a multi-stakeholder steering group that oversees the development of independent research. Despite the sharp division that exists in stakeholder opinion, particularly related to whether or not such a concept constitutes an act of dumping, there now exists a proactive approach to assessing the need and potential for the formation of reefs using redundant oil and gas platforms. One influential stakeholder, Greenpeace, however, has distanced itself from the process. Liability, loss of access, and safety are of particular concern to fishermen when examining calls for offshore and nearshore reefs. The fishing industry remains unconvinced of the benefits of inshore reefs but maintains an open mind. It remains, however, committed in opposition to offshore reef creation, even more so when suggested in combination with a no fishing policy. The environmental pressure group Greenpeace is opposed to any rigs-to-reefs initiative, seeing this as a means by which offshore operators can circumvent the Oslo and Paris Commission's (OSPAR) Decision 98/3, which calls for complete removal of offshore installations. The importance of cost and the existence of willing reef beneficiaries are highlighted as important to the acceptance and success of a nearshore rigs-to-reefs venture. The creation of offshore reefs faces numerous political hurdles. The importance of a genuine stakeholder dialogue process to integrate scientific and political thinking and to avoid the re-occurrence of an event similar to the Brent Spar is stressed. The paper concludes that fishermen hold the key to the success of rigs-to-reefs ventures in the North Sea and that their cooperation and participation is essential for the promotion and success of the concept.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFisheries, reefs, and offshore development
Subtitle of host publicationproceedings of the Gulf of Mexico Fish and Fisheries Meeting held at New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, 24-26 October, 2000
EditorsDavid R. Stanley, Ann Scarborough-Bull
Place of PublicationBetheseda, Maryland
PublisherAmerican Fisheries Society
Pages1-14
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)1888569549
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2003

Publication series

NameAmerican Fisheries Society symposium
PublisherAmerican Fisheries Society
Volume36
ISSN (Print)0892-2284

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  • Cite this

    Baine, M. S. P., & Side, J. C. (2003). The role of fishermen and other stakeholders in the North Sea rigs-to-reefs debate. In D. R. Stanley, & A. Scarborough-Bull (Eds.), Fisheries, reefs, and offshore development: proceedings of the Gulf of Mexico Fish and Fisheries Meeting held at New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, 24-26 October, 2000 (pp. 1-14). (American Fisheries Society symposium; Vol. 36). American Fisheries Society.