My experience as second license on an offshore crew-boat, working out of Rockport, Texas, suggests that offshore wind farms will create “reefs” that will be impermeable by mobile net gear, and thus make a refuge for fish to grow and spawn.

When we delivered cargoes to manned offshore rigs, we would then tie up to an unmanned rig in a cluster of unmanned rigs and fish with hook and line over the side for grouper and snapper. We caught very large fish, in numbers suggesting that the unmanned rigs acted as nurseries for fish that otherwise would be killed by mobile net gear before they reached maximum-sized maturity.

The larger the fish, the better the spawner. Remember, before the advent of engine-driven mobile net gear, 30- to 50-pound cod were the norm, caught on grounds located with “Marks Books” within sight of shore marks.

William Burgess Leavenworth

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