Northeastern commercial fishermen and seafood businesses are calling for transit lanes four nautical miles wide between rows of offshore wind turbines.
The Responsible Offshore Development Alliance, a fishing lobby group whose members hail mainly from New England and New Jersey, wrote a letter to the U.S Coast Guard and other federal authorities to make its case for wider lanes, saying they would:
– Allow enough room for a vessel to make a significant alteration of course if needed;
– Provide space for vessels to pass one another;
– Compensate for reduced radar effectiveness; and
– Serve as passageways for marine life.
In November, wind developers proposed spacing turbines one nautical mile apart and laying them out in uniform rows.
With regard to the proposed spacing of one nautical mile, the fishing group wrote, “RODA reiterates, consistent with each of our previous comments on the record, that most fishing vessels will not be able to operate in this array and significant displacement will still occur due to (one-nautical-mile) spacing.”
The letter, dated Jan. 3 and released Tuesday, is signed by RODA director Annie Hawkins and Lane Johnston, the programs manager.
They emphasized that the layout they are proposing applies only to the Massachusetts and Rhode Island lease areas and should not be considered a precedent for other areas, because each layout should fit with site-specific fishing activity.