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New Report Paves Way for a Northeast Fisheries and Offshore Wind Science Agenda

March 30, 2023

Next steps include workshops on floating offshore wind technologies.

A color graphic showing three wind energy turbines floating upright at the ocean surface and moored to the ocean bottom using different types of mooring lines and anchors. Conceptual drawing of mooring and anchoring technology for floating offshore wind energy platforms. Credit: U.S Department of Energy

A final peer-reviewed report synthesizing the current state of science on the interactions between fisheries and offshore wind is now available online. The report was developed through a partnership of the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance (RODA), NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). It also summarizes the results of a first-of-its-kind symposium that helped gather information for the report.

“We are pleased to have been a part of this project, and look forward to working with our partners on its next iteration, a series of workshops focused on fisheries and floating offshore wind energy,” said Andy Lipsky, who oversees the wind energy team at the science center. Lipsky is also a co-author on the recently issued report.

The Synthesis of the Science: Fisheries and Offshore Wind project enhanced understanding of existing science and data gaps related to offshore wind interactions with fish and fisheries. It included a workshop in 2020 as well as the report.

"This collaboration was a great success and truly helped us as we developed a joint survey mitigation strategy with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management,” said Lipsky. “It also helps us define and begin developing the new kinds of monitoring required to continue our long-term data streams on ocean life as well as needed research on how offshore wind energy changes marine habitats and fisheries.”

The symposium brought together fishermen, fishing industry representatives, NOAA Fisheries, BOEM, and RODA experts, wind energy developers, federal fishery management councils, states, and other expert scientists from the United States and Europe. More than 550 people participated. View workshop summaries and videos of panel discussions

Synthesis of Science

Following the workshop, an interdisciplinary team of scientists and fishery experts collaborated on the report which covers five broad topic areas:

  • Ecosystem effects
  • Fisheries socio-economics
  • Fisheries management and data collection
  • Methods and approaches
  • Regional science planning

The report is intended to enhance understanding of existing science and data gaps related to offshore wind interactions with fish and fisheries.

Next Steps for Collaboration

RODA, NOAA Fisheries, and BOEM are collaborating on science, research, monitoring, and process of offshore wind energy development on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf. The next collaborative project is focused on fisheries and floating offshore wind energy. It will summarize current knowledge, research, and monitoring associated with floating wind technology and include workshops focused on floating technology and to obtain a fishing industry review of existing efforts to map fishermen’s data.

This effort complements the broader interagency Floating Offshore Wind Shot, by helping to advance understanding of this emerging technology in the context of fisheries. We will continue to work with stakeholders as stewards of the nation’s ocean resources, their habitats, and the communities that rely on them.

NOAA Fisheries and offshore wind

Last updated by Northeast Fisheries Science Center on March 31, 2023