August 7, 2023
Brunswick, ME -- The New England Fishermen’s Stewardship Association (NEFSA) today released an Offshore Wind Research Summary, a canvass of scholarly articles that identify dangers offshore wind farms pose to ocean ecosystems.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has designated 9.8 million acres in the Gulf of Maine for wind farm development. The Gulf of Maine Call Area encompasses highly productive fishing grounds that are essential to the economic wellbeing of the fishing fleet and coastal communities.
“The studies featured in the Research Summary indicate that there is no scientific consensus as to the effects of offshore wind on ocean ecosystems and marine life,” said Jerry Leeman, NEFSA CEO and a longtime commercial fishing captain. “We cannot industrialize the Gulf of Maine until we understand how the wind industry interacts with the fisheries that wild harvesters have stewarded responsibly for decades.”
One study featured in the report found that electromagnetic fields (EMF) emanating from subsea cables that carry energy to shore produce deformities in juvenile lobster. Exposure to EMF also reduced vertical swimming abilities, compromising a juvenile lobster’s ability to reach currents and food resources in the upper ocean. That study warned offshore wind “could have a measurable impact on early development of two commercially important crustaceans.”
Another study of subsea HVDC cables found that magnetic field intensity reduced swimming activity for 60 percent of haddock larvae. The researchers warned that reduced swimming activity “might alter the spatial distribution of haddock larvae, which could result in them drifting to different areas, potentially areas with less food and more predation.” The researchers further warned of “population-scale implications for haddock in the wild.
“Lobster and haddock are the commercial backbone of New England’s fisheries,” said Dustin Delano, NEFSA COO and a fourth-generation lobsterman. “Foreign green energy companies will endanger New England’s working people and its maritime heritage unless they take the time necessary for careful study of our fisheries and their plans for development.”
NEFSA and six other partner organizations are calling on state and federal policymakers to take the following steps:
· Rescind the existing Gulf of Maine Call Area.
· Conduct an environmental review for the Gulf of Maine before identifying any commercial wind energy areas.
· Delay any further development until experts have monitored and studied the Gulf of Maine research array the state of Maine is currently developing.
Read our coalition letter here.
NEFSA is an alliance of the wild harvesters off of New England, dedicated to educating the public about how best to manage our seafood resources through sound science and best practices of conservation, with a view toward economic well-being, ecosystem sustainability, and U.S. food security.