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Fishers vow to ‘fight to the end’ EnerVest wind farms

New Taipei City fishers vowed a “fight to the end” after Germany-based energy company EnerVest scheduled briefing sessions on its wind farm projects in the seas near Pengjia (彭佳嶼), Mianhua (棉花嶼) and Huaping (花瓶嶼) islets.

EnerVest’s publicity materials showed that it plans to build 520 turbines in three wind farms of about 1,000 square kilometers near the islets of Pengjia, Mianhua and Huaping.

Speaking at a local fishers’ association meeting in Wanli District (萬里), New Taipei City Councilor Pai Pei-ju (白珮茹) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Tuesday slammed EnerVest, saying that the company’s low-key announcements all but ambushed her constituents.

EnerVest planned to hold briefing sessions in Jinshan (金山) and Wangli (萬里) districts, but gave little notice, Pai said, adding that she did not learn of the dates until her staffers pressed the company’s representatives.

“They only told me that the events were tentatively set for December,” she said. “This looks like they are deliberately obstructing and keeping the people’s representatives in the dark.”

Her intent is to ensure the transparency of information and full participation of the public, not whether local residents approve the wind farms, Pai said.

The fisheries near the three islets are rich in squid, roe-bearing flying fish, belt fish and crabs, Wanli fishers’ association president Lien Tsung-ming (練聰明) and Jinshang fishers’ association president Hsu Kuo-liang (許國亮) said.

Trawling, crab caging and restaurants would all be affected if the wind farms disrupted the fisheries, they said.

Rueifang fishers’ association president Huang Chih-ming (黃志明) said that the 1km gap between turbines would present a navigational hazard for boats, while low-frequency noise pollution might affect the migrant birds of Jinshang and Huaping Islet.

In November, Keelung Mayor Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) said that he was opposed to the wind farms and urged New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) to listen to his city’s residents.

New Taipei Fisheries and Fishing Port Management Office Director Chang Li-chen (張麗珍) said that EnerVest and not the central government was responsible for choosing the sites, and that the city government would pass the residents’ opinions to the central government.

“We hope our residents will go to the briefing sessions and we absolutely will do all that we can to help fishers,” she said.