The commercial fishing industry in the US has been vocal in opposing wind power projects, saying that the windmills will disturb ecosystems and hinder their ability to catch scallops, clams, squid and lobster. Support for the industry came from the governors of nine east coast states – Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Virginia – who jointly sent a letter in June to the Biden administration seeking “mitigation frameworks for demonstrated negative impacts” on the affected fisheries.
Reuters has reported that state and federal officials involved in the matter say the federal government, in response, is considering how it might financially compensate the industry for lost business.
Brian Hooker, a marine biologist with the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), is reported to have said at a June meeting of a regional fishery management body that “compensatory mitigation is something that we’re taking a very serious look at.”
One suggestion would see offshore wind developers providing the funds for compensation. A representative of Vineyard Wind, which is developing a wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts, said in a statement: “We can see a benefit to a more regional approach to mitigation, but at the same time, we want to continue to engage with all the stakeholders including state and federal agencies, fishermen, and other developers as the conversation evolves to ensure the best outcome.”
Fishery opposition to wind farms has contributed to delays in permitting US commercial-scale projects.