Is fishing still allowed in the Gulf of Mexico aboard offshore vessels, provided there is time and occasion?
Is it “allowed,” or is it “being done?” It is being done, even when some companies don’t allow it.
It is no big deal with some companies, other have policies against it. One company prohibited fishing after a crew member got a fish hook in him, and needed a medivac flight out of the oil patch. That was expensive for the company.
Most companies don’t prohibit it but many vessels do. One drillship I worked on allowed fishing for 30 years with no incident until we got a Captain that prohibited it. He said the fishing line could foul the thrusters which was BS. On another vessel fishing had been prohibited since it was built until we got a shoreside manager who loved to fish. The other ships I worked allowed it as long as the guys were safe and cleaned up after themselves.
The question I have is… Has anyone ever experienced problems from allowing fishing?
I’ve seen ‘problems’ only when it wasn’t managed properly. First there is the issue of fishing licenses in US waters. I’ve had the fish and game folks meet the helicopter at the beach and search bags for illegal fish. If you’re going to do it keep it legal. I think illegal fishing in Louisiana carries a tougher sentence than DUI!
The second issue occurred when working on research vessels in the Pacific. We often ran surveys at 7 or 8 knots (good trolling speed) along the upwelling interface on the coast of Oregon. The albacore tuna were everywhere and easy to catch. The problem came when the freezer got so full of tuna that the cook couldn’t put anything else in there. People were fishing for fun… not sustenance… and it got out of control.
Lawsuits and lawyers have to catch some blame along the way so I’ll write about that too. Let’s say you land a nice dolphin out in the Gulf and cook it for the crew… or better yet your engineer claims to be a sushi chef and serves it up raw. Everyone gets sick because it wasn’t cleaned or prepared correctly. Your deckhand sues the company for his troubles. Companies don’t want that liability so they ban fishing.
Finally there are the cuts while cleaning the fish… but we’ve already had the thread on knives being banned.
I agree with you that the ‘line in the thruster’ story is BS. That’s been re-told a million times as a quick answer for those who don’t know any better.
I believe the crack-down on fishing started when snapper catches were federally regulated. My bro-in-law flew in from a rig a few years ago with many undersized snapper on board. The federal game wardens seized the PHI helo in the process and fined a couple of guys.
Also fishing line CAN dammage lip seals in Waukesha type shaft bearings. What seal failures I’ve experienced over the years have been from long lines, drift nets, crab traps and lobster pots.
It tightens up the pucker string stepping out on the deck in Stapleton Anchorage at sunrise, enjoying your first cup of coffee and notice a 1/4 mile slick eminating from your stern.
My old company allowed fishing, wherever the ship was but when they drydocked a vessel and had to replace the seals of both main props due to entangled fishingline they prohibited it…to no result btw.