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Unlike Some Environmentalists, Fish Love Oil and Gas Rigs

Life is rife beneath Platform Gilda, off the California coast (Image: Scott Gietler)

California environmentalists and others who hate the petroleum industry don't want you to know this:

A recent submarine study reveals that fish are far more adundant under oil and gas rigs off the coast of California than on reefs in the same waters.

"We find that fish production rates around individual oil rigs – scaled per unit of seafloor – tend to be around 10 times higher than comparable estimates in other highly productive marine habitats such as reefs and estuaries," says Jeremy Claisse of Occidental College in Los Angeles, who led the study.

The team surveyed 16 oil or gas platforms and 7 rocky reefs each year for 5 to 15 years, from 1995 to 2011. They counted how many fish, and of what size, were associated with each habitat. From this they worked out the weight of fish supported each year per square metre of sea floor in each area. To avoid overestimates, they included only fish within 2 metres of each structure that were clearly resident there, excluding fish just passing through.

Read more here.


Pikeminnow Bounty Program Helps Anglers Find Smallmouth Bass

While many anglers fish for pikeminnows in the lower Columbia and Snake rivers in hopes of collecting bounties, they also catch plenty of other fishing, including smallmouth bass.

“I always thought it (catch statistics) could be of some use to anglers fishing the Columbia and Snake who are not obsessed with only salmon and steelhead,” said Eric Winther, pikeminnow manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Typically, fishermen catch the greatest number of warmwater species at the Columbia Point station in the Tri-Cities (Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland). During the week of July 7-14, they boated 949 pikeminnows and 601 smallmouths, with Greenbelt and Lyon’s Ferry yielding more than 1/3 of the bass.

In 2013, pikeminnow anglers landed nearly 9,000 smallmouth bass, along with more than 4,000 sturgeon and nearly 1,500 channel catfish.

Operating from May 1 to Sept. 30, the program pays $4 to $8 for each pikeminnow caught that measures 9 inches or longer.

Formerly called northern squawfish, the pikeminnow is a native species that resembles a walleye. Impoundments on the rivers have enabled it to become a much more effective predator of young salmon and steelhead.

Since 1990, more than 4.2 million pikeminnows have been removed through the bounty program.



We're Never Too Old To Grow Up With Nature

In Fish, Frogs, and Fireflies - Growing Up with Nature, award winning outdoors writer Robert Montgomery and 13 friends explore what and how we learn about life from the everyday miracles of nature.  Each story celebrates the tangible and intangible blessings we derive from the outdoors.

These tales encourage us to sleep in a tent, swim in a lake, blow the fluff off a dandelion, and wish on a falling star.  Invest enough time and a butterfly might land on your nose, or a hummingbird on your finger.  You might see an eagle soar or a double rainbow splashed across the western sky at dawn.

Read this book to a child!  Take it with you on a hike, a fishing excursion, or camping trip.  The essays and short stories will inspire you to enjoy the natural world, even if you don't know a cricket from a cricket frog.  They will enlighten you with cautionary tales of thin ice and blazing campfires.  They will entertain you with accounts of an alien invasion, white rats run amuck, and an embarrassing trip to the emergency room.

Fish, Frogs, and Fireflies will educate you about nature's mysteries and miracles, ranging from mermaids and snake spit, to African lions and Ozark dinosaurs.  This book will take you to the stars, the mountains, and a little creek below the tree line at the baseball field.  And if you enjoyed the outdoors as a child, they will bring back glorious memories.

Others books by Robert Montgomery include Why We Fish and Better Bass Fishing.


Fish, Frogs, and Fireflies Now at Amazon

Please check out my new book, Fish, Frogs, and Fireflies --- Growing Up With Nature. It's now available at Amazon, and publisher tells me that copies should be available this week.

If you enjoy reading it, please leave a review.

Also, check out my other books, Why We Fish and Better Bass Fishing.