At least a few fishermen voiced doubts about wind farms on the coast here, particularly their fears they’ll negatively impact local fisheries.
At a second meeting with Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, fishermen went as far as asking the company to put up a bond to reimburse fishing businesses if they fail due to the wind farm.
“What if the fishing industry gets pummeled? We don’t have any fallback. Until that gets answered there’s a lot of guys that aren’t going to back this,” said Capt. Bob Rush Jr., owner and operator of the Starfish party boat in Sea Isle City.
Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind’s lease site lies 10 to 20 miles off the coast between Barnegat Light and Atlantic City. The lease site is about 183,000 acres.
The wind developer is still in the planning phases of the project and has not said how many turbines it would construct on the ocean bottom. Construction is still a few years out.
Doug Copeland, Atlantic Shores’ development manager, said their Construction and Operations Plan, which requires federal approval before the project can proceed, has to show the farm will not have a negative impact on the fisheries.
“That’s on us to prove,” Copeland said.
Atlantic Shores’ goal is delivering three gigawatts of wind energy, enough to power 1.5 million homes to one of the most densely urban areas in the country, New Jersey and New York.
While Atlantic Shores has assured anglers they will be allowed to fish the lease site, a concern fishermen have is the electromagnetic field, or EMF, generated by the farm and whether it will deter fish from migrating across the bottom.
For offshore wind energy projects, the sources of EMF are inter-array cables that carry electricity from each wind turbine to the export cables, which carry that electricity to shore.
Some fishermen expressed skepticism that flounders such as fluke, a staple fish, will not cross the cables to come to their inshore grounds.
Jennifer Daniels, Atlantic Shores development director, said they are still conducting their analysis on the cable fields. The group has provided existing research from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management that found cables buried six feet under the seafloor significantly reduce the omission of currents from the cables or create a weaker EMF.
Atlantic Shores’ said its cable will lie six-feet below the ocean floor. In areas where cables intersect and six feet is not possible, they will place structure, most likely rocks, on the seafloor to obtain a six-foot layer of covering.
Only a couple of party boats sailed over the weekend.
Capt. Matt Sosnowski of the Norma K III party boat said the temperatures were brutal on the ocean Saturday. Sunday’s conditions were better and he took patrons a bit offshore where he said they caught a few blackfish.
He said it was “not good by any means,” but they did have a dozen or so keepers up to 5 pounds. The bergals and eels were a bit of a nuisance on the spots as well.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding