As the majority of the twenty-seven petroleum platforms off of California are slated to end productivity within the next ten years, the issue of decommissioning is becoming of greater public interest. Previous surveys in the Santa Barbara Channel have shown that petroleum platforms act as rearing habitat for many over-fished rockfish species, however no thorough systematic surveys of the platforms located off Long Beach and Huntington Beach have been conducted. Given the proximity of these warm-temperate water platforms to the densely populated Los Angeles and Orange County regions, any decommissioning decisions will be a contentious issue among marine user groups, environmental groups, land owner groups, and the petroleum industry.
Trained AAUS volunteer scientific divers from the Aquarium of the Pacific will assist Chris Martin by conducting surveys of petroleum platforms off Long Beach and Huntington Beach on a bi-monthly basis over a one-year period. This will serve as a pilot study for longer term monitoring.
Results from this data will be used in future scientific studies and will be useful in the debate over platform decommissioning strategies in Southern California.
Study still in progress.