NOAA Fisheries, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), and the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance (RODA) signed a 10-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
According to an official release, the MoU brings local and regional fishing interests together with federal regulators to collaborate on the science and process of offshore wind energy development on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf.
Safe, reliable, and affordable domestic energy production powers the U.S. economy, promotes jobs and is critical to our nation’s security. Offshore wind is an abundant, domestic energy resource that is located close to major coastal load centers, providing an alternative to long-distance transmission or development of electricity generation in these land-constrained regions.
Fishing has occurred in New England and Mid-Atlantic waters for hundreds of years and is an integral part of the region’s culture and economy.
"Any development on the Outer Continental Shelf must consider how these activities can affect current ocean users and the marine environment," said BOEM Acting Director Walter Cruickshank. "That is why working with federal, state, and local agencies, fishing communities, and the public is such an essential part of our renewable energy program. We look forward to working with NOAA and RODA through early and constant communication to ensure that the most recent information is available to decision makers."
"With wind energy developing in the New England/Mid-Atlantic region, this collaboration comes at a crucial time," said Chris Oliver, assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries, the primary federal agency charged with sustaining U.S. marine resources and habitats.
The new Memorandum of Understanding identifies four areas of mutual interest, which include the responsible planning, siting, and development of offshore wind power and working with regional and local fishing interests.
The parties agree to collaborate on: engaging local and regional fishing interests in the offshore wind development process; identifying the most effective ways to bring fishing industry expertise and information into planning and development processes; and developing a collaborative regional research and monitoring framework to ensure decisions are based on the best available science.