Wind farm impact on fishing

Fri, 08/10/2018 - 6:30am

The following was submitted by the Block Island Maritime Center:

Off-shore wind farms are beginning to make their mark in the United States. 

The 30-megawatt Block Island Wind Farm, the first in the country, will be followed by an additional 1,400 megawatts of power that has been contracted by the states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York.

Find out about wind farms and their impact on fish, fishermen, and the environment in a presentation given by Capt. Dave Monti on Tuesday, Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Block Island Maritime Institute. The talk is called “Fishing Among Giants:  Wind Farms and their Impact on Fish, Fishing, and the Environment.”

Monti is a recreational fisherman and charter captain. He writes a weekly fishing column for The Providence Journal. He is vice chair of the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council, which makes commercial and recreational fishing regulation recommendations; a vice president of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association; and an active member of the Rhode Island Party & Charter Boat Association.

Most fishermen are supportive of ocean wind energy if developed and located responsibly with input from fishermen. Recreational fishermen like the structures that wind farms create — much like jetties, bridges, reefs, and the structure that oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico have created. Mussels grow on the bases of the wind towers, small fish are attracted to the mussels, and larger fish arrive to forage on the small fish. Deepwater Wind, the developer of the Block Island Wind Farm, has contracted to deliver a total of 600 megawatts of ocean energy, including the proposed South Fork Wind Farm proposed for Long Island.

What has research told us to date about the impact of the BIWF on tourism, habitat, fish and fishermen? And what is expected when multiple wind farms are built? Capt. Monti will answer these questions.