Fishermen’s partnership says wind farm lacks scientific support

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The Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership claims that the 84-turbine offshore wind project soon to be developed by Vineyard Wind lacks scientific backing and will inevitably harm the local ecology and way of life for fishermen and boaters.

The release states that the growing wind energy industry is developing at a “rapid pace without adequate science and risk management.”

Executive director of the Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership Angela Sanfilippo told The Times the partnership’s comments are based in part on the response of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries (NOAA) to the draft environmental impact statement released by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

Sanfilippo said NOAA Fisheries has “great concerns” about the impacts of the wind farm on recreational and commercial fishing and boating.

Regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries’ greater Atlantic region Michael Pentony sent a letter to BOEM advising them of his concerns surrounding a lack of in-depth scientific study related to the wind farm. The letter was posted online by media and public outreach website Saving Seafood.

“We determined that many of the conclusory statements relating to the scale of impacts for biological and socioeconomic resources are not well supported in the document,” Pentony wrote in his letter to the BOEM. “Specifically, impacts categorized as major appear underinclusive, while impacts designated as moderate seem overly inclusive.”

Vineyard Wind spokesman Scott Farmelant told The Times in a written statement that, through extensive prepermitting and permitting processes, a “robust data collection” has been compiled to inform the existing condition of the project, and “extensive habitat data has been collected throughout the project area.”

According to Farmelant, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) has helped in the past with data collection, and will help guide

the project’s fisheries monitoring studies during construction.

“SMAST’s recommendations were based on its expertise as a leading fisheries research center as well as input from active fishermen, government agencies, and academia,” Farmelant wrote in the statement.

2 COMMENTS

  1. In 2017, BOEM conducted a survey (2017-063) to assess how dangerous installation of offshore wind would be, due to the overwhelming amount of munitions and other hazardous materials dumped in previous years. A traditional cable plow cannot be used, and a jet trencher will be required (which creates increased sediment/environment disruption). This can interfere with migration routes, breeding, etc… In 2018 NCCOS/NOAA also released a baseline biological survey, in which the discussion portion identifies severe inaccuracies to the methods used to collect data.
    Factors certain to disrupt the ecosystem include severe sediment, noise exceeding 200Db, added structure, vibration, electromagnetic radiation, and human influence, among others. These factors can be magnified by the length of the construction process and the season. 40% of existing wind farms deal with environmental lawsuits.
    1MW of power will supply an average 400-900 homes hourly (depending on grid efficiency). This sounds great, but the cables run to the mainland. Offshore wind will combine with traditional sources prior to being redirected to the Vineyard. This is a great opportunity to increase power bills under the guise of “green energy”, which the Vineyard will likely not receive. Until there is a direct line running from the wind farm directly to MV, Vineyard Wind has very little to do with our community. At the moment, the plan is to utilize our backyard, at the cost of biodiversity – don’t be fooled.

    • If “human influence” is such a concern, the area for the proposed wind farm should also be off limits for commercial and pleasure fisherman.

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