Block Island Wind Farm sets precedent for bringing fishermen to the table

POINT JUDITH, RI – Offshore wind farm proposals are advancing in Maine, New Jersey, Virginia, and elsewhere, but the 30-megawatt, five-turbine Block Island Wind Farm, which is being developed by Deepwater Wind Holdings LLC for construction entirely in Rhode Island state waters, is on track to become the nation’s first offshore wind farm. 

This project also is a good example of how participating in offshore energy planning can pay off for commercial fishermen, according to Bill McElroy, who chairs the Fisheries Advisory Board of the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), a key permitting agency for the project.  A long-time lobsterman, McElroy also is the Rhode Island governor’s appointee to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.  And he has an eye toward future wind farms.

“Since this will likely be the first project in the water, we’re trying to do things that set a good precedent for the offshore wind farms,” McElroy said.

The CRMC completed Rhode Island’s Ocean Special Area Management Plan (Ocean SAMP) in 2010.  The document sets out enforceable policies and recommendations to guide CRMC decisions concerning both the development and protection of the state’s ocean resources.





Read the rest and much, much more in the February issue of Commercial Fisheries News.

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