Journal Article

The North Sea rigs-to-reefs debate

Mark Baine

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 59, issue suppl, pages S277-S280
Published in print January 2002 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2002 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI:
The North Sea rigs-to-reefs debate

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  • Environmental Science
  • Marine and Estuarine Biology


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Against a background where a sharp division of stakeholder opinion exists between proponents and opponents, I provide an evaluation of the rigs-to-reefs concept in the North Sea in terms of abandonment legislation, scientific foundation, and perceived acceptability to the environmental and fishing sectors. An analysis of the political situation suggests the need for a revision of the United Kingdom's Best Practicable Environmental Option process. Priority attention should be given to the issues of drill-cuttings piles and the long-term fate of reefs. Offshore reef creation, including deployment in conjunction with a “no fishing” policy, is assessed as politically sensitive and difficult to achieve. Finding supporting beneficiaries and solving cost implications are deemed critical to the planning of a nearshore reef programme. The importance of a genuine stakeholder dialogue process is stressed, as is the crucial role of fishermen to the success of rigs-to-reefs ventures. Copyright 2002 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: decommissioning; fisheries; rigs-to-reefs; stakeholders.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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