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Gov. Baker vows to hear voice of fishermen regarding offshore wind

NEW BEDFORD – Gov. Charlie Baker sat about 1,000 feet from the city’s waterfront as he discussed various aspects of the state with The Standard-Times on Tuesday. The proximity to the most valuable port in the United States wasn’t lost on him.

“I do not want (the fishing industry’s) voice to get lost, period,” Baker said. “And it won’t be.”

Through the National Coalition for Fishing Communities, scores of fishermen and organizations sent a letter to Baker on Monday to emphasize their concerns regarding the implementation of offshore wind facilities in areas where they make a living.

“Based on the past several months of interaction with the offshore wind industry, we do not have confidence that our interests are being adequately taken into account, nor will be in the future,” the letter said.

The letter also calls for the New Bedford Port Authority to take on the role of a central facilitator in discussion between the industries.

“I’m happy to have them as part of the mix, but there are a lot of people at the state and federal level who have an oar in this water as well, but, yeah, happy to have them as part of the mix,” Baker said.

The letter addressed to Baker outlined three aspects of concern held by the fishing industry: the project side and number of turbines; a lack of plan/process to study impacts; and no coordination or communication among projects.

Fishing interests’ letter about offshore wind on Scribd