“We’ve got two renewable resources.
One in seafood, and one in wind,”
says Eric Hansen, a Massachusetts scallop fisherman.
“They shouldn’t have to compete.”
Through our commercial fisheries, oceans provide our last major wild food source and livelihoods for many. Climate disruption is the biggest threat to fisheries. Marine heat waves, ocean acidification, harmful algal blooms, hypoxia dead zones and other problems are pushing many fisheries to the brink of collapse. Oregon has been ground zero for climate impacts starting in 2007 when the state's oyster industry was almost wiped out. A comprehensive new report from the United Nations says that the entire marine food web and the fisheries that depend on it are threatened by climate change, and the only way to limit the severity of the disruption is by dramatically cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The costs and risks of delaying action are escalating.
OCEAN recognizes the benefits that commercial fishing provides to society and the proud heritage that results from that work. The positive impact offshore wind can have on climate change and thus the future of healthy fisheries can provide for common ground. There are many possible synergies between commercial fishing and offshore wind energy. In regions that have already seen decades of development, scientists have noted the benefits of wind farms to the ecosystem and fisheries stocks. In these same areas, fishers have demonstrated their deep knowledge and experience makes them valued advisers and service contractors to ocean energy development in challenging ocean conditions. Offshore wind energy can also help diversify and strengthen Oregon’s coastal economy bringing benefits to all.
Understanding the needs of both industries is the first step toward a mutually beneficial coexistence. OCEAN is committed to coastal community engagement and meeting the need for all stakeholders to have a real voice in how the offshore wind opportunity is developed in Oregon.