Opinion: On offshore wind power, let’s not get blown over
My column two weeks ago (“On energy, New York’s head is in the sand”) generated significant interest and input on New York’s proposed offshore wind power projects and their potential negative effects on Long Island’s commercial fishing industry. That led me to dig further into the subject. I believe that what I’ve learned is important to share with Herald readers and state policymakers.
The argument our fishermen and women make is that a large wind farm off the South Shore will adversely impact critical fishing grounds and interfere with commercial fishing boats’ ability to navigate and fish near the proposed wind turbines. When I started looking at this issue, I began by trying to find out how existing offshore wind farms have affected fishing grounds in their vicinity. But since there are so few of them along the East Coast, my search led me to wind farms off the European coast that have been in operation for some time.
Several of the largest of them were built by some of the same companies proposing similar ones off the U.S. coast, including off Long Island. Independent studies recorded measurable effects on fish populations during underwater construction of the wind turbines. And once construction was finished, the area around the towers was often off limits to vessels, shrinking available commercial fishing waters.