Interior Department Report Shows Ocean Windfarm Would Significantly Impact Fishing

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management released a supplement to their Environmental Impact Statement on Friday analyzing the potential impacts of the construction of an offshore wind-farm on commercial fishing. Vineyard Wind LLC prepared a Construction and Operation plan for the wind energy project which would be off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

The Bureau (BOEM) is contained within the Department of the Interior. They announced in the notice five virtual public meetings during a 45-day period to seek public comment on the proposed 800-megawatt wind energy facility which would have up to 100 wind turbine generators and at least one offshore service platform. 

The Vineyard Wind project could be the first commercial-scale wind farm in federal waters and help provide energy for coastal cities in the North East United States.

“The Supplement analyzes reasonably foreseeable effects from an expanded cumulative activities scenario for offshore wind development, previously unavailable fishing data, a new transit lane alternative, and changes to the COP since publication of the Draft EIS,” the notice statesd

The Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) takes fishing routes and new data into consideration, giving more information on the topic than the December 2018 draft EIS. It considers fishing reports which document where fish are caught and analyzed what percentage of various types of commercial fish are found in the area. It also analyzes the directionality of fishing activity in the area.

The SEIS is available online along with other documents related to the project and videos with subject matter experts discussing specific concerns or areas of impact. BOEM said they will incorporate public comment and the updated cumulative scenario into the final EIS.

“BOEM’s action furthers U.S. policy to make the Outer Continental Shelf energy resources available for development in an expeditious and orderly manner, subject to environmental safeguards, including consideration of natural resources and existing ocean uses,” the SEIS states.