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North Sea Research Finds No Impact on Lobster Grounds From Offshore Wind Farm

  • Six-year study finds that 35-turbine wind farm in North Sea has had no impact on European lobstering grounds
  • Commercial fishermen frequently raise concerns about offshore wind farms, and study demonstrates the ability of the two industries to collaborate to make sure the right approach is taken
  • Results provide an example for New England region, where several offshore wind farms are in planning

A six-year collaborative study between an offshore wind developer and a commercial fishing group has concluded that a 35-turbine wind farm in the North Sea has had no discernible impact on European lobster fishing grounds. The results could help reassure fishermen in the New England region as several offshore wind proposals advance.

The study was undertaken by Orsted, the developer of the Westermost Rough wind farm, and the Holderness Fishing Industry Group, which represents commercial fishermen in the coastal English town of Bridlington. Orsted is also the developer of the Block Island Wind Farm and is working on several proposed wind farms off the New England and Long Island coast.

Commercial fishermen in New England have raised concerns with the proposals and requested that the turbines be spaced far enough apart to accommodate fishing vessels. One proposed wind farm, off Martha’s Vineyard, has been put on hold after a Bureau of Ocean Energy Management report concluded that it could have a major effect on the fishing industry.

The Holderness Fishing Industry Group cautioned that the study results may not be directly transferrable to other fisheries. However, a representative of an American fishing industry group said the study itself provides an example of how offshore wind and commercial fishing interests can work together to help ensure that any offshore development proceeds in a mutually beneficial way.

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