Prevent Offshore Wind Turbines From Destroying Fishing Industry

Target: Amanda Lefton, Director of Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Goal: Regulate future off-shore wind energy infrastructure to minimize disruption of local fishing industry.

Legacy fishers of New England have seen an increase obstacles throughout the years. Astronomical license fees, competition from industrial fishing boats, and declining fish populations are some, but not all, of the forces working against these family businesses that span generations.

Offshore wind power generators near Martha’s Vineyard, also known as the Vineyard Wind project, are the latest venture to put a damper on fishers’ livelihood. These state-of-the-art turbines plan to sit 15 miles south of the island; the connecting transmission cable will run that distance to the Vineyard and be distributed from there. For fishers who drag their nets for the daily catch, the buffer around the turbines in which fishing will be prohibited will protect the submarine cables while restricting movement of boats.

The future of wind power is inevitable, but fishing and environmental advocates alike do not necessarily agree with the the logistics of the operations, namely those off shore. The “Vineyard Gazette” has been open in their reporting of the turbine’s effects on the local economies despite knowing they also would benefit from clean energy produced by the project. The publication calls out the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s environmental impact statement as myopic, outlining how the immediate effects of the installation on fishers is described as moderate while glossing over the long-term consequences which will be much more severe.

Offshore wind power can be a viable reality if, and only if, those spearheading these projects work closely and in agreement with locals and their economies. Many of these family-owned industries have existed generations and should be considered in any projects that affect their sole place of business: the waterways. Blocked sailing channels, risk of gear damage with cost of replacement, and battles over use of the ocean only scratch the surface of potential conflicts and should be avoided in favor of an agreeable approach.

Sign the petition below to encourage the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to recognize how the Vineyard Wind project and future ventures can greatly affect the sustainability and success of New England fishers.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Director Lefton,

We understand the importance of investing in renewable energy across the country. However, solving problems should not, as a result, create more issues elsewhere. The Vineyard Wind project, nonetheless, does just this by adding to the increasing layers of difficulties faced by legacy fishers in New England.

By restricting local waterways, channels used by fishers for generations to provide sustainable seafood to New Englanders, the livelihood of thousands of locals are blatantly disregarded in favor or expediting construction of the turbines. This creates disorder at the individual level as well as entire regional economies. With off-shore wind power gaining steam as the county’s energy needs develop, is it not important to make sure there is a sustainable plan in place for this and future turbine installations?

The long-term negative consequences of Vineyard Wind and subsequent off-shore turbine expansions already are recognized by locals. These people benefit from renewable energy yet still would like you to acknowledge your own environmental impact statement and how it downplays extended effects in favor of focusing on shorter less extreme repercussions. This alone should be enough to weigh each and every factor involved in these projects.

The people of Massachusetts as well as the innumerable numbers who are affected by off-shore wind turbines and their influence on local and even global individuals and economies urge you to change your approach to aqueous generators. Action is necessary to creating new irreversible problems even as we try to solve current ones.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Remi Mathis


2 Comments

  1. Alicia Nizzardi says:

    I’m sorry, I’m NOT signing a petition to HELP FISHING DRAG NETS. I can barely afford to drive through Martha’s Vineyard let alone own a wind turbine. HOWEVER, DRAG NETS harm so much more. Then there is the careless debris left behind, the unintended sea life that are caught in the nets. I’m VERY SORRY about the competition from the industrial fishing ships/companies. But I’m also an EVIRONMENTAL advocate, TOO.

    • Thank you for the information! The big fishing “industries” will also not be able to fish where the wind farms are which is great. I am not signing either.

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