Deepwater Wind Takes Steps to Prevent Fishing Gear Issues

US offshore wind developer Deepwater Wind has adopted a procedure designed to prevent impacts to commercial fishing gear from offshore wind energy activities.

The procedure was developed in coordination with the commercial fishing industry and is based off extensive feedback from fishermen in ports up and down the Atlantic coast, Deepwater Wind, the first American offshore wind developer to adopt such procedures, said.

“We know that offshore wind and all other ocean users can coexist – we see that happening every day at the Block Island Wind Farm. We are committed to working with the commercial fishing industry and ironing out our differences. We want to be good neighbors out there,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski.

“We’re taking this important step because it’s the right thing to do.”

Deepwater Wind believes that keeping fishermen informed is the key to preventing damage to fishing gear. Beginning this month, the company is requiring all Deepwater Wind vessels and personnel to comply with the procedure.

The procedure’s key focus is on providing frequent updates on offshore activities to fishermen, via Deepwater Wind fisheries liaisons and a team of fisheries representatives based in regional ports, as well as through online updates for mariners and twice-daily updates on VHF channels.

While Deepwater Wind expects there will be only limited impacts on fishing gear from offshore wind activities, the company has included a process for gear-loss/damage claims should they occur.

“The issue of gear loss has come up consistently from the commercial fishing industry in the context of offshore wind development,” said New Bedford Port Authority Executive Director Ed Anthes-Washburn.

“We appreciate Deepwater Wind for listening to those concerns and developing a transparent process for dealing with this important issue as offshore wind farms are developed. Mitigating conflict through open communications with the fishing industry is an important step as this new industry takes root off the coast of New England.”

Deepwater Wind is currently in active development on utility-scale wind farms to serve Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Maryland.