The government has offered to meet UK fishermen over offshore wind concerns. Lobsters exposed to underwater power cables show deformities which includes a curled, puffy carapace – or outer shell. Photo: Heriot-Watt University at St Abbs
The UK Government has promised to meet the fishing industry over its concerns regarding the impacts offshore wind on fish and shellfish.
The fishing industry is facing severe restrictions in its activities due to government plans for offshore wind farms and the imposition of marine protected areas and highly protected marine areas.
While fishermen understand the need to develop energy independence, they are also concerned with regards to their communities and to the nation’s food security, but also the long-term effects wind turbines and subsea cables will have on fish and shellfish.
In the House of Commons on 05 September at a debate of the Energy Bill [Lords], MP for Banff and Buchan David Duguid asked the UK Government if it was going to address the sectors concerns. He asked:
“The fishing industry understands that energy security matters, and that offshore wind has an important part to play in the overall energy mix, but food security matters too. The Minister will be aware of studies which have shown that up to half our seas could be lost to fishing owing to other activities, including offshore wind. Academic studies carried out by Heriot-Watt University, among others, have shown the impact that electromagnetic fields from subsea cables have had on the migration, growth and development—including abnormalities—of crabs and lobsters. The Energy Bill already makes provision for the principle of a levy to address the environmental impact of these new wind farms, which is absolutely right and proper, so what consideration—including engagement with devolved Administrations, as required—has been given, or could be given, to the businesses, industries and coastal communities that will inevitably be impacted by offshore wind operations?”
Answering on behalf of the Government, Conservative MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, Andrew Bowie answered:
“As part of the development consent process, applicants are required to consult with stakeholders, including devolved Administrations where relevant, and consider the impacts of their development on other sea users. However, I am also happy to confirm that I will meet him at any time, as well as representatives of the fishing industry, for whom this is a big issue.”