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Power cable proposal connecting offshore wind runs afoul of Long Island fishermen

Energy company Equinor has proposed running an offshore power cable from wind turbines through waters off of Montauk.

The transmission cable would send power from Beacon Wind 1, a proposed Equinor wind farm 60 miles off of eastern Long Island.

Long Island fishermen have raised concerns regarding how offshore wind would affect their prime fishing grounds. Some of the possible effects include displacing fish populations, navigational hazards and a loss of income for the industry.

Bonnie Brady, executive director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, said she felt blindsided by the announcement and that there has been minimal communication between Equinor and fishermen.

“Why didn’t this process start more organically from the beginning, in a way that actively includes fisherman, so that no one is ultimately put out of business or put into a scenario where they lose traditional historical fishing grounds that are sustainably fished and have been,” she said.

Brady also said the cable seems to run through an area known as “The Race,” a large fishing area located at the southeasternmost end of Long Island Sound.

“It’s an area where a huge amount of recreational fisherman fish,” she said. “It’s 171 miles of fishable territory and that is a huge problem because none of the stakeholders have been made aware of this.”

The plan that Equinor submitted to New York regulators said they will target areas where cables can be buried and avoid areas of high fishing activity when designing cable routes. Beacon Wind will now undergo a review process over the next five to seven years.

Equinor plans to hold a meeting on its plans on Wednesday, May 5, in Mount Sinai.