Vineyard Wind Kicking Off SMAST Fisheries Monitoring Studies
Vineyard Wind will implement recommendations from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) to guide the fisheries monitoring studies during the construction of the 800MW wind farm offshore Massachusetts.
The recommendations will also be used to initiate longer-term studies as part of a regional approach to fisheries studies. SMAST’s studies will begin later this spring.
In 2017, Vineyard Wind entered into an agreement with SMAST through which the wind developer asked SMAST to design a broad-based approach to research capable of supporting long-term, regional studies in addition to monitoring of construction impacts.
During the planning phase, SMAST conducted a trial for a “video trawl” system in the wind energy area that was funded by Vineyard Wind. The pilot program facilitated sampling of fish without harvesting, allowing for more efficient selection, the developer said. SMAST also held four workshops with the region’s fishing industry during November and December to identify priorities for assessments of impacts on fisheries and ecological conditions that are associated with offshore wind development.
Based on input from more than 75 commercial and recreational fishermen who participated in the workshops and input from academics and government resource agencies, SMAST recommended a series of methodologies for fisheries monitoring and research on behalf of the nation’s first utility-scale offshore wind project,
Vineyard Wind was selected in May 2018 to negotiate long-term contracts with Massachusetts’ electric distribution companies (EDCs) for construction of an 800MW wind farm 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. These contracts have now been signed and are pending before the Department of Public Utilities for approval. Vineyard Wind remains on schedule to begin on-shore construction in 2019 and become operational by 2021.