Vineyard Wind is committed to working with the fishing industry so that both the wind and fishing industries can grow together offshore Massachusetts. This commitment is long-standing, starting with Vineyard Wind engaging the offshore wind industry’s first fisheries representative in 2010, and will continue through the permitting, construction, operations, and decommissioning of the project. Please check this page often for the latest updates.
At the Massachusetts Fisheries Working Group on May 16, 2019 Vineyard Wind presented a proposed $10 million mitigation program for Massachusetts fishermen. The proposal presentation can be found here. Feedback on the proposal should be provided to Crista Bank, Vineyard Wind Fisheries Liaison, and/or the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management. Fishermen working in the project area that do not make landings or port their vessel in either Rhode Island or Massachusetts are asked to contact Crista regarding mitigation programs.
Vineyard Wind has contracted with SMAST to conduct pre- during- and post-construction fisheries surveys for the first project, as well as early baseline surveys for Vineyard Wind’s other project areas. As suggested by NMFS these studies are designed to be “nested and modular”, with the intent for them to also support longer-term, regional studies. The Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association will be coordinating vessels to be used for the studies, which will cost over $2 million per year. The studies were designed by SMAST, which conducted four workshops with fishermen, with over 75 active fishermen participating, in developing the study plan. In addition, Vineyard Wind engaged SMAST to conduct a trial “video trawl” survey in the Fall of 2018. Read SMAST’s full report and recommendations here.
Vineyard Wind engaged a fisheries economists to compile existing fisheries economics information from RI DEM, NMFS, and other sources to estimate total economic exposure, or landings value, from the project area by Rhode Island and Massachusetts fishermen. These reports inform compensatory mitigation planning for fishermen.
All current and past Notices to Mariners can be found in the document room.
Our current Fisheries Communications Plan is available here. We welcome comments and suggested changes, as the communications plan is updated regularly; please contact the Fisheries Liaison (see below).
Visit our permitting page for information on opportunity for public comment, and current status of the permitting process.
FISHERIES STUDIES AND SCIENCE
Vineyard Wind firmly believes that offshore wind developers must support good fisheries studies and science as the offshore wind industry grows up alongside the region’s oldest offshore industry- fishing. This includes both studies around construction of a particular project, as well as long-term, regional studies to provide good baseline information. These studies should be in addition to past and on-going basic research such as conducted by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
All fisheries survey and science reports to Vineyard Wind will be provided here, and updates of key milestones provided below.
March 2019: SMAST provides report of fishermen workshops and recommendations for fisheries surveys and monitoring. The report’s recommendations are based on input from commercial fishermen, regulators, and academics. Key recommendations are for a committee of fishermen to provide on-going input into the fisheries survey process, and for a “modular and nested” design to integrate studies across projects, phases of projects, and with existing regional studies programs such as NEAMAP.
Fall 2018: Innovative video trawl survey method trialed by SMAST with funding from Vineyard Wind. Trial concludes that further development of the method is needed before it can be utilized in the area south of Martha’s Vineyard, due to bottom conditions
Fall 2018: SMAST conducts four workshops in Rhode Island and New Bedford and on Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod to solicit input in the study design from fishermen. Over 100 participants provide input, 75 of them active fishermen
Fall 2017: Vineyard Wind engages SMAST to design and undertake fisheries studies pertaining to the project, asking that SMAST identify issues and research questions most important to the commercial fishermen in the region, and provide recommendations for how studies related to project construction can also support long-term, regional studies efforts.
We want to hear from fishermen
Please complete the form below to receive updates, mariner notifications, and requests for information and input.
Our Fisheries Liaison is Crista Bank, who takes the lead in communicating with the fishing industry on behalf of the project. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or cell 508-525-0421
The Fisheries Representatives represents the interests of fishermen to the project, and help make sure the project is getting the information it should have about the fishing industry. Fisheries Reps represent the interests of fishermen, not the project. Fisheries Reps also help get out the word about project activities offshore, and help to make sure the project is aware of any immediate problems or concerns from fishermen. Some Fisheries Reps are compensated for their time by the project.
Current Fisheries Representatives are indicated below; more will be added in the near future.
New Bedford Port Authority / www.portofnewbedford.org / (508) 961-3000
The NBPA is the governing body for New Bedford’s harbor and city-owned waterfront properties. It is chaired by the Mayor of New Bedford with six other members. The role of the NBPA is to support the Port of New Bedford by continually upgrading port resources; preserving its spot as the #1 U.S. fishing port; and expanding the New Bedford economy.
The NBPA oversees all the commercial and recreational vessel activity within New Bedford city limits, incorporating the city’s entire coastline and harbor.
Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust / email@example.com / (508) 687-0344
Mission Statement: The Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust is a Massachusetts 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation established in 2011 to: (i) Preserve the historic fishing fleets, communities, and economies of Martha’s Vineyard; (ii) Protect the marine populations and fishing grounds off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard and New England; (iii) Educate the community about its local fisheries.
Mass. Lobstermen’s Association, Inc. / www.lobstermen.com / Attn: Beth Casoni / (781) 545-6984 office / (508) 738-1245 cell
Mission Statement: The Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association is a member-driven organization that accepts and supports the interdependence of species conservation and the members’ collective economic interests.
The Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association was established in 1963 by the fishermen, for the fishermen, and is presently one of the leading commercial fishing industry associations in New England. On behalf of the 1,800 members, the MLA works to maintain both the industry and the resource. The MLA strives to be proactive on issues affecting the lobster industry and is active in the management process at both the state and federal levels. The MLA communicates with its members through a monthly newspaper, weekly email, Facebook, Twitter and attendance at meetings. For the past 54 years, the MLA has become a trustworthy voice for the industry on important issues, and is looked to by both the fishing industry and the management community
We are currently seeking additional fisheries representatives. If you are interested, please contact Crista Bank, Fisheries Liaison (see above).
US COAST GUARD PUBLIC HEARINGS
The US Coast Guard is conducting a Massachusetts and Rhode Island Port Access Route Study (MARIPARS) to evaluate the need for establishing vessel routing measures. Three public meetings were held on April 23, 2019, April 25, 2019, and April 29, 2019 to provide an opportunity for oral comments about the MARIPARS.
You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2019-0131 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal. The comment period for the notice of study closes on May 28, 2019.