A boat passes one of the wind turbines of the Block Island Wind Farm in 2016. PHOTO BY Don Emmert/AFP via Getty Images

In Rhode Island, offshore wind farm emerging as popular fishing spot

A survey finds many recreational anglers think the Block Island Wind Farm improved fishing by acting as an artificial reef

An ongoing study of how the country’s first offshore wind farm is affecting recreational anglers so far points toward a fairly peaceful coexistence.

The Block Island Wind Farm, off the coast of Rhode Island, has become a popular fishing area, as many anglers believe the bases of the five, 6-megawatt wind turbines are acting as an artificial reef, said David Bidwell, an assistant professor of marine affairs at the University of Rhode Island (URI) and the principal investigator for the study.

“Anglers believe it has improved fishing in the areas very close to the turbines — there seem to be more species and more fish there,” he said.

The wind farm is also a popular attraction. People out on their boats for the day like to swing by the area just because it’s visually interesting, even if they’re fishing elsewhere, he said.

Participants in the study also expressed some reservations about the three-year-old project, which was developed about three miles off the island shoreline by Deepwater Wind. But by and large, recreational anglers said they like being able to fish so close to the turbines, a finding that might be instructive for the many other offshore wind projects in the pipeline.  

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