Back in June we were contacted by Vineyard Wind, and they asked if they could publish a guest blog post on My Fishing Cape Cod about their offshore wind project and how it may impact anglers. Their post was originally shared inside our members' forum. You can read the post and comments below.
Vineyard Wind Fisheries Laison
While the Offshore Wind industry is in its infant stages nationally, in Massachusetts it’s long been a goal of policymakers to tap into the potential of this natural resource.
Recently, the state legislature passed bills to bolster this effort, including the state’s recently passed Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy, requiring our electric utilities to procure increased amounts of offshore wind power.
When you combine the push locally with the federal government’s recent pledge to reach 30,000MW of offshore wind by 2030, it’s clear that we are on our way.
Vineyard Wind 1 is the first commercial scale project in the country. This 800MW project will provide clean electricity for over 400,000 homes in MA, provide thousands of local full-time equivalent job years over the life of the project, and will save ratepayers $1.4 billion over the life of the project while eliminating 1.68 million metric tons of CO2 emissions annually, the equivalent of taking 325,000 cars off the road each year.
Vineyard Wind has a long history of working with fishermen and other ocean users in our region. During our outreach efforts, we receive a numerous questions about the project.
To help clarify some of those questions here are 15 things all anglers should know about the Vineyard Wind project and offshore wind:
- Fishermen will be allowed to fish within the wind farm.
2. During the construction phase of the project there will be established safety zones around work areas. Once operational phase begins access will not be limited. The USCG has stated there will be no restriction on fishing activity in the wind farm once it is operational.
3. Fisheries science, and collaborating with fishermen, is a top priority,
4. We are in our third year of preconstruction data collection in three fisheries surveys 1) ground fish trawl survey, 2) drop camera survey and 3) lobster, plankton and black seabass survey.
5. Vineyard Wind works with local fishermen, fishing vessels and fishing organizations through the UMass Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) to conduct these studies.
6. Vineyard Wind collaborated with Dr. Kneebone from the Anderson Cabot Center for ocean life at the New England Aquarium to conduct a Highly Migratory Species (HMS) study to collect baseline data on the timing, nature, and extent of recreational fishing effort in Southern New England
7. All completed studies and reports can be found on the Vineyard Wind Website here: Fisheries Science — Vineyard Wind. Fishermen have provided direct feedback into the project.
8. After hearing concerns from fishermen, developers have agreed on a uniform 1x1 nautical mile spacing for the Massachusetts and Rhode Island lease areas. This uniform grid layout design across development areas is the first of its kind anywhere in the world. The evenly spaced corridors, allow for both vessel transit and fishing activity.
9. Vineyard Wind has also removed 6 turbines along the 20-fathom line based on feedback from fishermen.
10. Cables will be buried.
11. To allow for both mobile and fixed gear in the wind farm and along the export cable corridor, cables will be buried 5-8 feet,
12. Cable burial greatly reduces electromagnetic fields
13. There are opportunities for local vessel participation and Vineyard Wind is committed to hiring local vessels to work on the offshore wind project. If you own a vessel and are interested in participating in the development of offshore wind, please fill out our Vessel Request for Information Form, we’d love to hear more about what you and your vessel might have to offer! Local Vessels Request for Information — Vineyard Wind.
14. Having an open line of communication with fishermen and other mariners is a priority for Vineyard Wind. Vineyard Wind is always looking for opportunities to expand our communication network. One of the ways Vineyard Wind helps to keep fishermen involved is by using Fishery Representatives for the project. Fishery Reps help get the word out about project activities and help make sure the project is hearing the voices of the recreational community. To learn more about what a Fishery Representative does please check out our website: Fisheries Partners — Vineyard Wind
15. Up to date information on Vineyard Wind’s offshore activities are distributed often. You can sign up here: Vineyard Wind to get information on:
There’s much more to learn and more conversations to be had with the fishing community, and Vineyard Wind is committed to engaging with you every step of the way.
Working together, we can build an industry that honors our proud maritime history while powering our future.
Fisheries Liaison Caela Howard joined Vineyard Wind in 2019 and focuses on communicating with members of the commercial fishing industry and other fisheries stakeholders in Southern New England. She grew up in Clinton, CT and currently resides in Ledyard, CT with her husband and two children.