The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have released a draft joint strategy to protect and promote the recovery of North Atlantic right whales as part of responsible offshore wind development.
The draft strategy, which is now put up for consultation, provides a clear path forward to expand upon existing efforts to understand, mitigate and monitor potential impacts, and identifies areas where the agencies will work together to improve upon the necessary science, information and Indigenous knowledge to support the development of 30 GW of offshore wind in the US by 2030.
“As we face the ongoing challenges of climate change, this strategy provides a strong foundation to help us advance renewable energy while also working to protect and recover North Atlantic right whales, and the ecosystem they depend on”, said Janet Coit, assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries and acting assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere at NOAA. “Responsible development of renewable energy sources and protecting endangered North Atlantic right whales are priorities both agencies share”.
The draft strategy, which also provides a long-term approach to adaptive management, identifies three main goals: mitigation and decision-support tools, research and monitoring, and collaboration, communication and outreach.
It focuses on improving the body of science and integrating past, present and future efforts related to North Atlantic right whales and offshore wind development.
The strategy also establishes the agencies’ plans to engage stakeholders, partners and other ocean users on these issues. Following review of public comments, the strategy will be regularly evaluated and updated as new information becomes available.
“BOEM is deeply committed to ensuring responsible offshore wind energy development while protecting and promoting the recovery of the North Atlantic right whale. Working with NOAA Fisheries on this draft strategy leverages the resources and expertise of both agencies to collect and apply the best available scientific information to inform our decisions”, said BOEM Director Amanda Lefton. “We’re seeking open and honest feedback from the public to help us evaluate and improve this effort”.
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