The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisatons (NFFO) has voiced “disappointment and dismay” at the announcement by the Crown Estate on proposed sites under round three for offshore renewable energy development.
The NFFO says it has repeatedly expressed concern to Government departments on the lack of consultation at the primary stages of site selection. Dialogue at an early stage could substantially reduce the cumulative effects on fishermen from loss of access to prime fishing grounds to other offshore activities.
But the proposed developments announced in round three opens large new areas for development but seem to suggest that nothing has been learned from the first two rounds.
“As a consequence, more prime and very productive fishing grounds will be lost to offshore renewable energy developments when these could have very easily been sited elsewhere.”
Dave Bevan, NFFO Liaison Officer added:
“Like some sites under rounds one and two, a number of new and bigger sites under round three have been selected in prime fishing areas.
“Not all sea bed is highly productive fishing ground and therefore some local sensitivity in siting these new wind farms could have been avoided through closer consultation with fishing representative’s and communities at the primary planning stages of round three. Second stage consultation between fishermen and potential operators is seen as meaningless due to the fact that government has also placed restrictions on how much a wind farm site can be moved from its original proposed position.
“The detail of this recent announcement therefore calls into question the benefit of fishing representatives attending the FLOWW-Fisheries Liaison Offshore Wave and Wind-group. It suggests that government simply want the fishermen’s notional attendance to endorse these controversial decisions.
“Furthermore, there are new sites proposed for the East Irish Sea under round three where the cumulative impact of existing offshore developments is already making it increasingly difficult for the local fishing industry to operate.”
9 June 2008
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