The Maine Aqua Ventus pilot project would anchor two 6-megawatt floating turbines off Monhegan Island. University of Maine rendering.

ME - Fishermen seek delay in Gulf of Maine offshore wind planning

Gulf of Maine fishermen this week asked three New England governors and federal officials for a six-month delay in planning for offshore wind energy development in those waters, as the seafood industry grapples with the upheaval of coronavirus.

In deeper waters of the gulf, wind power will be achieved only with the use of floating turbines. The extensive anchoring and cabling that would be required means “lease areas will become de facto closures to fishing,” the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance wrote in an April 14 letter the governors of Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

“Technology is evolving to minimize the footprint of the base of an offshore wind platform, but current proposed technologies still have mooring lines and flexible cabling that will make any type of fishing – fixed or mobile gear – incredibly unlikely within a wind energy area.” According to the alliance, a coalition of fishermen, coastal communities and related businesses.

Meanwhile, “the fishing industry has been hit especially hard by the pandemic, forcing the commercial fishing sector to divert time and effort to addressing the current crisis, and leaving insufficient opportunities for engagement in offshore wind siting and other planning,” the alliance said in a news release accompanying the letter. “A six-month pause would not only demonstrate good faith to the fishing industry, but also allow for additional research on offshore wind’s impact on marine ecosystems and better data sharing that will benefit offshore development moving forward.”

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