Offshore wind farms are being developed along the Atlantic coast. They can help the climate, but the effect on the fishing industry is uncertain.
“And that’s scary for people,” says David Bethoney of the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation. “So what we’re trying to do is get the people that are on the water, that are going to be affected by this change, involved in the research that can help us assess the change.”
Bethoney says wind companies are required to do fisheries monitoring surveys before, during, and after construction.
His group is working with local fishermen to conduct those surveys for the South Fork Wind Farm, which is being built this year off southern New England’s coast.
So they’re monitoring species in the area — from crabs and lobsters to monkfish and skates.
They’ll continue as the wind farm is built and afterward to identify any impacts.
“So do we see the same abundance of animals that we saw before? Do we see the same migration timing and movement patterns?” Bethoney says. “Are they as healthy as they were?”
The data will not only be used by the wind industry. Bethoney’s group will share it online, so fishermen can make sure their concerns are addressed as offshore wind energy expands.
Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media