WASHINGTON, DC / ACCESSWIRE / December 3, 2020 / In October, the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance (RODA) brought together fishermen, state and federal agency representatives, wind energy developers, and others to participate in a three-day workshop: Synthesis of the Science: Fisheries and Offshore Wind Development. The workshop kicked off the collaborative project, which provides a forum for research and knowledge sharing between the fishing industry, offshore wind industry, federal and state agencies, and the public.
RODA received funding from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for the project, which consists of two integrated components, a virtual workshop and a published report. These components have the overarching purpose of enhancing regional and national understanding of existing science and data gaps related to offshore wind energy interactions with fish and fisheries.
Together, RODA, NMFS and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) partnered on this project. Through a collaborative process co-designed by fishermen, wind developers, and state, academic, and federal partners, this effort advances the Responsible Offshore Science Alliance’s (ROSA) regional science efforts by describing the current state of science, existing research and monitoring programs, and data gaps, and soliciting input regarding priority research questions.
Over 560 participants attended the virtual workshop from all around the world. Speakers from across the US, UK and Europe presented the state of play for the disciplines that had been identified by the planning team, including physical and benthic habitat, oceanography processes, biological and ecological interactions, socio-economics, impacts to fisheries monitoring and data collection, management and cumulative impacts. To gather expertise and input from participants, breakout sessions provided an opportunity for small group discussions on specific issue areas.
“With the speed in which offshore wind projects are moving and the depth of science that is required to safely operate within wind energy areas and to preserve our valuable ecosystems, the Synthesis of Science workshop will prove to be invaluable as we move forward,” said Guy Simmons, Sea Watch International’s Senior VP of marketing, product development, fisheries science & government relations. “The virtual workshop and the whitepaper to follow will give us a road map of what we know, what we do not know and what we must know. We commend the great effort put forth by the organizing committee, and appreciate the National Marine Fisheries Service for seeing the need and providing funding, along with BOEM, for the event.”
Agency leadership, including Chris Oliver, Assistant Administrator for NMFS, and Walter Cruickshank, Acting Director of BOEM, gave remarks in support of the effort and encouraged the continued collaborative effort between the offshore wind and fishing industries. Agency chief science advisors and the director from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) – Dr. Rodney Cluck (BOEM), Dr. Cisco Werner (NMFS), and Dr. Jon Hare (NEFSC) – also provided keynote remarks and even tested attendees’ fisheries trivia knowledge to start the meeting.
The success of the Synthesis of the Science project hinges upon identifying and prioritizing impacts to fisheries and the fishing industry when considering implications of offshore wind development. This is the most comprehensive effort to date to convene fisheries scientists and industry experts on the topic of offshore wind energy, and the widespread interest and active participation in the projects indicates the need for continued engagement.
“I had the good fortune to attend the Synthesis of the Science workshop and found it extremely informative,” Richard Ogg, owner of the F/V Karen Jeanne, based out of Bodgea Bay, California. “I could interact during the breakout sessions, ask questions, and leave with a clearer understanding of offshore wind generation.”
Contributing authors to the synthesis report are working with the planning team to synthesize the input provided during the workshop and fill in specifics from existing and ongoing research. Outcomes from the workshop and report will be used by the ROSA advisory council and research advisors to help determine the organization’s path
Recordings of the plenary presentations and other materials are available on the RODA website.
RODA represents fishing industry associations and companies dedicated to improving the compatibility of offshore developments with their businesses. RODA’s approximately 170 members represent every Atlantic coastal state from North Carolina to Maine, and Pacific coast members in California, Oregon, and Washington.
Stove Boat Communications
SOURCE: Responsible Offshore Development Alliance
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