Dutch fishers have again expressed concerns over the rate of growth of offshore wind farms in the North Sea
Fishermen in the Netherlands have again expressed their concerns over the rate of growth of offshore wind farms in the North Sea.
The rapid expansion without extensive research into the possible long-term damage to the marine environment has been of great concern for Eendracht Maakt Kratct, a Dutch fishing organisation.
They say that fishermen are very concerned about the future of fishing due to the arrival of new wind farms and they have an urgent letter to the House of Representatives and Fisheries Minister Carola Schouten.
They demand, among other things, a postponement of the further construction of wind farms and submarine power cables, respect for historic fishing grounds and more research into the effect of wind farms.
Dirk Kraak is chairman of Eendracht Maakt Kracht and says with the letter that he wants to express the concerns of fishermen about the roll-out of wind energy at sea. “That is happening at breakneck speed at the moment. We see that few studies have been conducted into the possible effects of those wind farms at sea. We want those investigations to take precedence over construction.”
Consequences can already be seen
The fisherman Martijn van den Berg, who is also present, is not only sceptical about the future construction, but also about the existing wind farms. “The marine ecosystem is already suffering from this. We see that the areas around the wind farms are no longer as flourishing as they used to be. Fishing is actually completely gone around these parks.” According to Van den Berg, the parks are also disastrous for the reproduction of the fish: “Most wind farms are built in places where they reproduce.”
A current government investigation is not well received by the (present) fishermen. Kraak: “The butcher inspects his own meat, I always say. That research will now run until 2023. But if I see what they can build in a year, then in 2023 there will be a lot of windmills in the sea.”
Future for fishermen
Kraak compares the current and future wind farms with the construction of the Afsluitdijk and the Delta Works. “Then we also closed off entire areas where young fish grow up. And now we are going to do the same again at sea. Then that fisherman was also hit and is now being hit again.”
If the outcome of the government’s report has a negative effect on the fishermen, then Kraak is of the opinion that they should accept it. “Then we have to work with the fishermen to see what the best areas are where we can place those wind farms.
“Discussions are currently ongoing about the construction of the wind farms. The fishermen got out there because of a lack of future prospects,” says Kraak: “This is too much. We are talking about 25 percent of the currently free North Sea that can be built on with wind turbines.”
Van den Berg: “It is not only important for my future. But also for the generations that will come after us. I have sons who also want to become fishermen. They are still thinking about it. But when I see that rollout at sea right now, I think: ‘guys, don’t do it!’”