Sea Tech Buyers Guide


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12 SECTION A • The Ocean/Marine Market • BG 2018 in place to prevent similar occurrences at open-ocean farm sites. But, in the court of public opinion, the jury was still out. ST Rick Martin is the publisher of Commercial Fisheries News and Fish Farming News. What Hurricane Harvey Teaches Us About Energy Security T he end of the torrential rains that followed Hurricane Harvey was a welcome sight, but the clearing skies also shone light on the extent of this nature-caused tragedy. As floodwaters receded and Texans and Louisianans embarked on the arduous road to recovery, the offshore energy indus- try took stock and counted its losses and blessings. While many onshore energy facilities were damaged by floodwa- ters, offshore facilities faired remarkably well. At the time of this writing, there were no reported deaths or injuries among offshore workers, no reported damage to offshore facilities, and no reported spills from offshore facilities. This is a testament to how well the offshore industry prepares and responds to hurricanes. Even during the devastating 2005 storm season, when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita ravaged the vital energy infra- structure of our Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), 97 percent of offshore facilities survived the record-breaking storms; every single offshore safety valve held; there were no signifi- cant spills from offshore facilities; and there were no deaths or injuries among offshore workers. The offshore energy industry has an enviable record of protecting the lives of its offshore workers, and offshore companies provide critical support during disaster recovery efforts onshore. Today, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, offshore companies are again stepping up and providing support services, emergency funds, housing and other assis- tance to their employees, and donating millions to the Red Cross and similar organizations. While we should be justifiably proud of our industry's safety, environmental and philanthropic record, natural di- sasters like Hurricane Harvey also expose the vulnerability of America's energy security. We have placed the vast ma- jority of our offshore energy eggs in one basket—the hurri- cane-prone Gulf of Mexico. Energy companies working in the Gulf of Mexico pro- duce about 1.7 million barrels of crude oil per day and 3.2 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. The Bureau of Safe- ty and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) estimates that up believe that there is a possibility that additional flexibili- ties should be considered, accountability measures that are used to enforce annual catch limits (ACLs), particularly in fisheries where we don't have the robust and accurate ac- counting," Oliver testified. "Many of our recreational fisher- ies are of a nature that don't lend themselves well to those monitoring methods." Two companion bills in the House and Senate would al- ter the MSA in how it addresses recreational and commer- cial fisheries management. Both bills call for a review of the red snapper fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico, and each bill changes sections of the law that apply to all U.S. fisheries concerning fundamen- tal management principles in MSA, including how regional councils will allocate access to marine resources and adopt annual catch limits requirements. Others in the industry, including widely respected New England fisheries scientist Dr. Brian Rothschild, have voiced frustration with ongoing delays toward the long overdue MSA reauthorization. "Four years and counting, the stalled reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Man- agement Act is impeding the progress of U.S. fishery man- agement," Rothschild wrote in a recently published op-ed piece. "In December 2013, a reauthorization draft was distrib- uted to the 113th Congress. Since that time various versions of the bill have been shuffled between the House and the Senate. "So, the reauthorization of MSA gathers dust. Dur- ing four decades since its original authorization in 1976, fisheries management has had its bright spots and dark patches,"Rothschild continued. "Future dark patches can be considerably reduced by making sure that the elements underpinning the operational quartet in the reauthorization are, at the very least, well- defined and feasible to attain." Finally, on the U.S. aquaculture front, the industry is moving forward, slowly, with development of so-called "open ocean aquaculture" projects—but suffered a serious setback when thousands of farm-raised salmon were inad- vertently released off the Washington coast in late August. A net pen failure at a nearshore (not open ocean) salmon farm owned by Cooke Aquaculture rekindled fears concern- ing the safety and security of ocean-based aquaculture op- erations and their potential impacts to wild fish populations. Aquaculture experts considered the Cooke incident to be an anomaly and offered assurances that safeguards are "Congress has been slow to embrace the Trump Administration's proposed cuts to NOAA funding."

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