While some observers consider offshore oil and gas platforms an eyesore, new data shows that offshore oil and gas platforms are an integral function for marine life. Scientists have documented the importance of oil and gas platforms as critical habitat for some species of rockfishes on the California coast. According to the researchers, juvenile rockfish need something hard, like a rock overhang or a man-made structure, to settle out and develop a home base. Then they join a school and swim around their structure. The school helps to protect them from predators. Staying in one place allows them to eat the plankton that drift by in the ocean currents. If the juvenile were to drift out to sea with the currents, they would likely be eaten by predators or starve to death once they eat all the nearby plankton floating with them.