Fishing Groups File Complaint Against New York OWF, Delay Lease Sale

The auction of the wind energy lease area off the coast of New York has been delayed after fishing groups filed a complaint to the federal court yesterday, based on a concern about the impact a large-scale wind project will have on the access to prime fishing areas.

Image: BOEM

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was set to hold the lease sale on 15 December.

The complaint was submitted to the federal court in Washington, D.C. by Fisheries Survival Fund, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, the city of New Bedford, Massachusetts, and groups representing scallop and squid fishermen, according to Associated Press.

The Business Network For Offshore Wind issued a statement on the matter, saying: “The U.S Bureau of Ocean Energy and Management (BOEM) requires an extensive stakeholder marine spatial planning process that de-conflicts and wind energy area prior to the Point of Sale Notice (PSN). The Network has witness first handed how BOEM’s offshore wind energy area leasing policies foster the co-existence of industries and shared utilization of our nation’s ocean resource to the benefit of the states, their businesses, and citizens.

“The State of New York moving forward with offshore wind would contribute to a regional pipeline of 4-6 GW of OSW that could create more than 60,000 manufacturing, marine construction, marine transportation, logistics, operations and maintenance jobs. There are approximately 2,500 wind turbines deployed in the ocean off the coast of Europe today equating to almost 4GWs of offshore wind generation and creating more than 60,000 jobs. Furthermore, throughout Europe the presence of turbine structures in the ocean creates an artificial reef, which serves as a new habitat for marine wildlife. With the artificial reef system in place a variety of organisms inhabit the area surrounding the turbines, attracting more fish to the area and enhancing the local fisheries. Fishing around offshore wind farms is not prohibited, and will actually prove beneficial to the success of the fishing industry.

“It is the Network and its more than 130 members’ hope that this issue will be resolved quickly and that the New York Wind Energy Area can be leased within a timely manner to benefit the emerging offshore wind industry supply chain and the well-established commercial fisheries.”