The Protect Us Fishermen Rally was attended by more than one hundred concerned citizens at the Coos Bay Boardwalk on May 10th. Numerous people involved in commercial fishing (Pictured Nick Edwards a fisherman, owner of the F/V Carter Jon and vice chair of the Shrimp Producers Marketing Cooperative), Seafood processing and marine ecology spoke against the Bureau of Ocean Management (BOEM) wind farm Call Areas. The Coos Bay Call Area covers much of the ocean area fished by commercial fishermen. Floating wind turbines anchored to the ocean bottom will damage the marine ecology and effectively make the area unfishable. Much of the Oregon Hake Fish, Sable Fish and Pink Shrimp fishery will be lost.
Recreational anglers are also impacted by ocean floating wind farms. A primary concern is navigation safety, ocean anglers, commercial and recreational; rely heavily on radar to navigate in fog. Unfortunately, radar won’t work around wind turbines. Fishing around floating wind turbines with all the cables and mooring lines under the surface will cause entanglements and loss of gear. Depending on the location of wind farm leased areas, even Tuna fishing could be at risk.
There are a lot of unknowns associated with ocean wind farms in general, and in particular floating wind turbines. Most of us support the need to move away from fossil fuels, but let’s not destroy a highly valued ocean resource to take advantage of wind. Certainly science regarding the impacts of ocean turbines needs to be improved, so that informed decisions can be made. Lacking the science and the speed which the government is moving, at least move the Oregon wind farm Call Areas to deeper water (1,300 Meters and beyond) and out of prime marine habitat.