Wind Energy Area socioeconomic study on fisheries ‘exposure’ nears completion

MONTAUK, NY – At the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s April 8-10 meeting here, A. Justin Kirkpatrick and Sharon Benjamin from the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center presented spatial and revenue analyses that will help the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) evaluate the impacts of offshore wind farms on fisheries.

That data is now being coupled with fishing industry input gathered by BOEM over the last couple of years during workshops on mitigation measures to help inform the environmental review process for wind farm development.  A draft report titled “The Socioeconomic Impact of Outer Continental Shelf Wind Development on Fishing” is due out this summer.

Kirkpatrick, an economist, and Benjamin, a geographic information systems analyst, explained that they compiled vessel trip report (VTR) data and matched it with vessel observer records for the six-year period 2007 to 2012 in order to map fishing effort from Maine to North Carolina.  The goal was to identify the fishing industry’s “exposure” to development in BOEM’s nine wind energy areas (WEAs).

“Exposure” doesn’t necessarily mean impact.  Instead, Kirkpatrick explained, the term is used to identify any permit holder or group that receives revenue from fishing in or near the WEAs.

Exposure also differs from impact because some fishermen will be able to continue fishing in or around WEAs after a wind farm is constructed, while others may choose not to fish there or…


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

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