WHAT IS THE VISION OF THE TEXAS GREAT BARRIER REEF?
We feel that more needs to be done to provide suitable habitat for the many species of fish found offshore of Texas. The natural bottom topography offshore of Texas is a predominately flat, featureless sand/mud bottom which would benefit greatly from an artificial reefing program. More than 4,000 oil and gas platforms are scheduled to be removed from the Gulf in the next ten years which devastate the fish communities depending on those structures for survival. We have been taking from the resource for years now without replenishing – the time is NOW to plant the seeds for the future.
Our goal is to raise $200 million over the next few years and deploy over 390,000 reefs here off of the Texas coast! This will be accomplished through Public funding sources as well as Private donations. The reef deployments will be done in Phases.
Phase One: Establish a 1-mile wide reefing corridor located inside the 9-mile line along the ENTIRE Texas coast (excluding shipping corridors, pipelines, etc.) from Port Isabel to Sabine Pass (approx. 300 square miles). This is a concept of bringing the fish to the fishermen since the reefs being situated inside state waters will be in proximity to the shoreline. This has many benefits; noteable fuel savings due to a multitude of close-in fishing spots, you can currently fish for snapper year-round in state waters, provides a “trolling corridor” which will attract other species such as tarpon, king mackerel, dorado, and other pelagics, and will result in increased fisherman participation in the sport, thus energizing coastal community economies along the entire Texas Coast (currently a $8 billion/year industry). With a small investment of $50 million, we feel that we can save this valuable resource.
Phase Two: We want to work with the Texas Parks and Wildlife, the US Corp of Engineers, and the Coast Guard in developing additional larger reefing areas in federal waters which will allow greater freedom in reef placement and variety in depth. Currently, Alabama enjoys reef permit zones encompassing approximately 1,260 square miles, and that’s with a coastline of only 40 miles! Texas has a coastline of more than 350 miles – a comparable reef permit area based on coastlines would be over 11,000 square miles here off of the Texas coast!
Insurance provided at the local level isn’t enough. Larger insurance policies are out there, and with proper support and funding, this can provide a viable option to help insulate against the risks of this project.