The oil company will pay to do a six-to-eight-week survey to determine the extent of rock and shell pads present at the platform's base, fisheries officials said. Even if the platform's main structure is removed, Wildlife and Fisheries officials say they hope the shell structures below can be preserved and continue to serve as a fish habitat.
The department and the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement will determine the best course of action, which may involve adding concrete and other materials to enhance fish production and provide habitat. If that is done, the site will be marked with buoys.
“We encouraged Apache to take a look at this alternative opportunity to the preserve the immense value of The Pickets for our recreational anglers,” Wildlife and Fisheris Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina said in a news release. “One of our department’s greatest priorities is to ensure that we offer the recreational angler the best fishing experience possible, and we’re so pleased Apache is interested in being a good steward of the environment and working with us toward this goal.”
The Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana, the state's largest sport-fishing group, has also expressed an interest in working with the department as it has done in the past on similar artificial reef projects, said John Walther, the group's Louisiana habitat chairman.
"We look forward to the opportunity to create an even better habitat for our favorite marine species while we create a blueprint for similar projects in the future," he said. "This is a win-win situation for everyone."