The Norwegian Pelagic Association has issued its response on offshore wind farms calling for the fishing industry to be involved in planning
The Norwegian Pelagic Association has expressed its concern about the location of offshore wind turbines.
The Pelagic Association says that this is mainly due to too little knowledge of the effects on marine life. There is also concern about land conflicts if wind turbines are placed in fishing grounds, and the turbines displace the fishing industry. There is also concern that cables on the seabed could destroy fishing vessels, and/or make it unwise to fish in large areas.
The Association says, “It is very uncertain what effect the wind turbines will have on fish and other marine life. There is little research in the area, and the Institute of Marine Research has pointed to a number of areas where offshore wind can damage marine life. The Institute of Marine Research advises thorough investigations before building the deployment of offshore turbines.”
An EU report on offshore wind indicates that wind turbines can have dramatic damage potential for marine life, and for fishing if wind turbines are placed in fishing grounds.
The Pelagic Association believes that a precautionary rule must be introduced, such as for the fishing industry, also with regard to negative effects as a result of offshore wind turbines. This both in hay to marine life, and in hay to other industries.
“In the event of a risk of conflict of interest, the authorities must always prioritize the existing long-term, subsidy-free, profitable and environmentally friendly fishing industry over other considerations. This must be the underlying management price snippet,” writes the Association.
“Fishing must therefore always have first priority, and other industries must be adapted to the fishing industry.
“It is thus very important that offshore wind turbines do not displace the fishermen’s established right to fishing grounds. It is also important that a strict precautionary rule is introduced that takes into account both spawning and rearing areas for fish, and all other life in the sea. This throughout the period from planning, development, operation and to the removal of wind turbines and cables. Requirements must also be set for developers to have guarantees that will cover damage, removal, and clean-up,
“When the Institute of Marine Research has stated that there is a lack of knowledge about the effects of offshore wind turbines, it is natural that it is required that relevant developers contribute to more research in the area, before the development of offshore wind turbines.
“In the application processes, applicants must therefore have to show how they want to obtain knowledge, take into account biological practices, and fishing interests, in the best possible way.
“Such requirements should be clearly stated in the guide, and knowledge must be obtained from respected independent research institutions.”
The Pelagic Association also believes that one must learn from previous processes, such as oil exploration in Lofoten, Vesterålen, Senja, and the Barents Sea, and wind power both on land and at sea. They say it is therefore important to pay decisive attention to existing industries that may be at risk of injury as a result of any future energy projects at sea and along the coast. In this way, it is positive that the guide sets minimum requirements, but the guide should be significantly clearer that the supervision of the fishing industry must first take place in the event of land conflicts.
“The Pelagic Association is concerned that the fishing industry will be displaced from established fishing grounds, and agrees with the ministry when it writes that ” In principle, it is less relevant to grant a license in areas that will negatively affect maritime safety or accessibility .” Fishing is also ” passable “, but the Pelagic Association still believes that it should be made clearer that developers must pay attention to the fishing industry.”
Similarly, the Pelagic Association agrees that “it is important to involve affected industries in the study work, that affected actors are consulted in the wind power plant’s licensing process, and that the industries’ input is given weight in choosing the wind power plant’s final location and design.” They believe that such input should have decisive weight, and that it should be legislated.
The Association agrees that requirements must be set for project-specific impact assessments but believes that clearer requirements should be set for the content and scope of impact assessments. This both in terms of land conflicts, the consequences for fishing interests, and biological consequences.
“With regard to the minimum requirements for facilities, no fishing interests are mentioned. This is a shortcoming,” they claim.
“The same applies to the lack of requirements for describing biological effects.”
The Pelagic Association believes that when the ministry writes that “Network costs shall be covered by the developers. Development of offshore wind power shall not lead to costs for customers on land”, then this should be legislated. This is so that costs are not passed onto subsidy-free industries.