Update: Assessing Fisheries and Fishery Resource Impacts from Offshore Wind
BOEM is proud to announce that the final report regarding Atlantic offshore wind best management practices (BMPs) to reduce fishing impacts is now available on BOEM's website. This report is a culmination of nine BOEM-sponsored workshops held between October 2012 and April 2014 with commercial and recreational fishers from Maine to North Carolina and offshore wind developers. BOEM and renewable energy lessees in the Atlantic will use the recommendations in this report to adopt BMPs specific to individual development plans for offshore wind. The five BMPs described in the report include guidance on the adoption of the practices. A principal BMP includes the establishment of fisheries liaison officers and fishing industry representatives, which will facilitate crucial communication in order to realize other BMPs regarding safety, and project siting, design, navigation, and access. The BMPs are important to BOEM in order to foster compatible use of areas of the outer continental shelf and to assess environmental impacts of lessees' offshore wind development plans.
BOEM has also funded two research proposals to further evaluate fisheries and fishery resources in southern New England and offshore Virginia. The southern New England project comes from the Rhode Island-based Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation and New York-based Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program. This contract will engage the northeast commercial fishing industry, and fisheries scientists and managers on how to best assess, and where possible reduce and mitigate, the potential impacts to fisheries resources located in, adjacent to, or migrating through wind facility sites off the coasts of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New York. Emphasis will be placed on identifying the key research and monitoring needs, and summarizing suggested data collection protocols for post-construction monitoring.
Offshore Virginia, BOEM has partnered with the Commonwealth of Virginia's Coastal Zone Management Office to develop fine-scale maps of important commercial and recreational fishing areas in and around the Virginia Wind Energy Area. The Commonwealth will use the maps to collaborate with the fishing industry on the identification and fine-tuning of BMPs regarding lessees' fisheries communication and outreach plans, the design and operation of offshore wind facilities, and post-construction environmental monitoring of potential impacts from commercial wind facility development offshore Virginia.
If you would like more information about these important efforts, please contact me via the information provided below.
Tracey B. Moriarty
BOEM Office of Public Affairs (Renewable Energy)