August 15, 2019 – The following was released by the Fisheries Survival Fund:
The Fisheries Survival Fund (FSF) supports recent efforts by the Department of the Interior to ensure that planned offshore wind developments receive a thorough environmental review, as required by law. We appreciate that President Trump and his Administration, and specifically Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, have chosen to require that major offshore renewable energy development is based on sound science and takes the needs and interests of existing, historic coastal communities into account. Recognizing that major offshore wind development projects – especially when so many are being planned all at once- fundamentally alter the ocean environment is sound policy and the right thing to do.
FSF has consistently stated that any offshore wind development needs to properly consider how new development affects exiting ocean users. This includes scallopers and all other fishermen, who rely on key fishing grounds that will be disrupted by new wind farms, as well as other ocean users who rely on these areas for transit.
Any prospective wind farm needs to properly account for the environmental impacts it would have on marine life and marine habitats, and the economic impacts it would have on fishermen and others relying on the areas. Only then can the benefits of any project be accurately assessed against the costs, and possible damages successfully mitigated.
Recent steps by the Department of the Interior closely follow our advice. In requiring a proper environmental review of existing wind farm proposals, the Department is holding the wind power industry to the same standards the fishing industry is whenever it implements a fishery management plan. To be clear, the Department is not imposing new or unique burdens. Rather, it is assuring that existing standards are met and proper procedures are followed. We are a nation governed by laws that apply to all, including renewable energy projects.
FSF still believes that it is possible for wind power and fisheries to coexist. But this coexistence can’t happen without an honest and complete understanding of how this new industry will change our environment. We thank Secretary Bernhardt for his active engagement and thoughtful deliberation on this issue.
About the Fisheries Survival Fund
The Fisheries Survival Fund (FSF) was established in 1998 to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Atlantic sea scallop fishery. FSF participants include the vast majority of full-time Atlantic scallop fishermen from Maine to North Carolina. FSF works with academic institutions and independent scientific experts to foster cooperative research and to help sustain this fully-rebuilt fishery. FSF also works with the federal government to ensure that the fishery is responsibly managed.