Working Group Nears Consensus on Transit Lanes for Fishing Vessels in Northeast Wind Energy Areas
The Responsible Offshore Development Alliance (RODA), which consists of regional fishing industry representatives from Maine to North Carolina, convened an Offshore Wind Transit Lane Working Group meeting on December 3rd at the Hotel Viking in Newport, R.I.
Fishing industry representatives, offshore wind developer lease-holders, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), and the U.S. Coast Guard, among others, joined RODA to continue an attempt to develop fishery transit lanes through the large group of Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) in federal waters off of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The meeting was facilitated by the Consensus Building Institute. Currently, three WEAs are subject to active leases held by Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind and Vineyard Wind. BOEM will hold an additional auction for three new leases in WEAs adjacent to the existing sites on December 13, 2018.
In addition to loss of access within the lease areas, commercial fishermen coastwide have long been concerned about their ability to safely travel across wind energy arrays to access other historical, traditional commercial fishing grounds. They are especially concerned with the size of the WEAs being proposed by BOEM, which are by far the largest in the world.