The SFA has urged offshore wind developers to protect the local Shetland's fishing industry

The SFA has urged offshore wind developers to protect the local Shetland’s fishing industry. Photo: SFA

Offshore windfarm developers are being urged to spend some of their billion pound-plus development resources on protecting Shetland’s fishing industry.

Ocean Winds, Mainstream Renewables and ESB Asset Development between them plan to spend more than £1 billion on three government-approved developments east of Shetland.

Prior to a visit to the isles by the three companies tomorrow, Shetland Fishermen’s Association is calling for them to make a series of commitments to ensure that one of the isles’ most vital industries is not crowded out of important fishing grounds.

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The Offshore Wind Developer Principles, drawn up by the association in conjunction with Shetland Islands Council, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and companies Malakoff, Ocean Kinetics, LEF and Voar Energy, ask that developers commit to:

  • Thorough scientific research to assess likely impacts on fish and shellfish stocks and spawning/nursery grounds
  • Independent scientific monitoring of development sites and associated infrastructure
  • Co-operate to ensure that cables are routed into shared and buried cable corridors
  • Prior consultation on offshore mooring system and turbine micro-siting that mitigate the spatial impact on fishing opportunities
  • Liaise with the fishing fleet and other marine users to create passage corridors that allow for safe and timely transit between fishing grounds and harbours/markets
  • Remove all development infrastructure and return seabed to natural fishable state when developments are concluded
  • Make disturbance payments during construction and compensation payments for the loss of fishing access and income to the fleet
  • The use of local fishing boats for guard vessel duty as part of site security arrangements during construction and operation.

SFA executive officer Daniel Lawson said:

“Offshore windfarm developers have vast resources at their disposal to develop these sites, which cumulatively and in conjunction with other spatial pressures pose a grave risk to the future of the fishing industry.

“Given the importance of the industry to Shetland, they have an obligation to commit to these principles.

“This is a fishing community, and we want to work with developers to create a win-win situation, low carbon food as well as low carbon power, with all the economic benefits that both will bring to the isles.”

Source: Press Release

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