The Swedish Government's decision to accelerate offshore wind development by granting permits in the Kattegat is criticised by the SFPO

The Swedish Government’s decision to accelerate offshore wind development by granting permits in the Kattegat is criticised by the SFPO

The Swedish Fishermen’s Producer Organisation (SFPO) has criticised plans by the Swedish government to accelerate offshore wind farm developments in the Kattegat.

The government has decided to give permission to Galene and Vattenfall Syd to build and operate two wind farms in Sweden’s territorial waters outside Varberg and Falkenberg respectively.

The government’s action has led to despair amongst the fishing community there as the sea where the permits have been granted are traditional fishing grounds.

Kattegat Syd, which will be built about 25 km west of Falkenberg, includes up to 80 wind turbines in an area of ​​122 square kilometres. Galene, which will be built about 21 km west of Varberg, includes up to 21 wind turbines in an area of ​​42 square kilometres. The two wind farms, when fully developed, will be able to supply up to 6.5 TWh of electricity per year. This corresponds to the electricity use of approximately one million households, or the electricity production from a large nuclear power reactor.

The news of the permit grant has outraged fishermen and leader of the SFPO, Peter Ronelöv Olsson has written to the Prime Minister of Sweden, Ulf Kristersson and other government representatives with reproach over the political decision which he says will adversely affect coastal communities in the Halland area, causing the loss of employment not just in fishing, but in land-based jobs too. In an open letter he writes:

Open letter regarding the decision regarding the wind farms Kattegatt Syd and Galene in the Kattegatt – a disaster for Swedish professional fishing

For Swedish fishing, the decision to grant permission to the wind farms Kattegatt Syd and Galene means nothing but a pure disaster and a definitive end for fishing in the Kattegatt. We are extremely disappointed with the decisions.

The areas that can now be the subject of marine wind farms are the best fishing spots in the Kattegatt, a sea area that will in future consist of protected areas and wind farms – no commercial fishing will be able to be conducted.

You have not spoken to Swedish professional fishing. Are you aware that fishermen from other countries have the right to fish in the area? There would have been room for both the wind farms and fishing if you had had a dialogue with us. But you have had no interest in talking to a vulnerable base industry.

The permit decisions mean an end to the fishing that has been carried out in the areas since time immemorial. You have chosen to disregard the national interest in commercial fishing, you have chosen to turn a blind eye to ancient rights, and you have run over licensed professional fishermen with the right to fish in the area and who provide Sweden with marine food and are carriers of the coastal culture that is so important to Halland.

The fact that the food-producing ships are now disappearing means a deterioration of Sweden’s degree of self-sufficiency and has a negative impact on Sweden’s crisis preparedness.

No one seems to have seriously considered another location or compensation for the affected small businesses. What you have now done, to confiscate our workplace, is something that could have been avoided with proper preparation, which could have resulted in both marine wind power and continued fishing. What has now happened we thought could never happen in Sweden.

The small business owners and professional fishermen who are now deprived of their livelihood must be redeemed. Compensation must be paid that corresponds to at least the insured value of the vessels. Or is it the idea that some forty Swedish small business owners and food producers will go bankrupt as a result of the government’s ill-considered decision?

Follow The Fishing Daily