Windfarms and Fishermen: An analysis of the current situation by Tom MacSweeney.

Relations between the fishing industry and wind farm developers appear to be poor at the Seafood /Offshore Renewable Energy Working Group.

This was set up by the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, last Summer to “facilitate discussion on matters arising from the interaction of the seafood and offshore renewable energy industries, to promote and share best practice and to encourage liaison with other sectors in the marine environment.”

The MARINE TIMES has learned that there is disagreement over the way in which the fishing industry is being treated and that developers are perceived as being favoured by Government. Attempts are now being made to improve communications between both sides. This comes at a time when developers have moved into the planning stage for offshore construction sites.

“We have a situation now where marine area consents were granted by Government to seven or eight wind projects in December. These are now moving into the planning process. They are part of phase One which will account for up to 43 per cent of the total generation capacity that is targeted for 2030 so it is a meaningful phase of the offshore renewables preparations,” said Aodh O’Donnell, Chief Executive of the Irish Fish Producers’ Organisation. 

“Obviously there is concern in the affected areas that fishermen and local communities should have some say and some form of consultation between the marine area consents and the planning phase. We still haven’t achieved or delivered a standard communications model for the sector. It is a work in progress. It is on-going but we have nothing finalised at this stage.” For those whose fishing livelihoods are focused inshore the development of wind farms is a major issue.

Read Windfarms and Fishermen: An analysis of the current situation from ‘The Marine Times’ Here >>>