July 7, 2022 — As part of its efforts to ensure that offshore renewable energy development occurs in a thoughtful manner that minimizes conflicts with other ocean users, today the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced the availability of draft guidance on mitigating potential impacts of offshore wind development on commercial and recreational fishing and is inviting public review and comment on the draft.
This draft mitigation document is the next step in the development of guidance for offshore wind companies that was begun in the winter of 2021 through a Request for Information from the fishing industry, government agencies, non-government organizations, and the general public, in consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).
Today’s announcement initiates a 60-day public review and comment period on the draft guidance, which will end at 11:59 p.m. (Eastern) on August 22, 2022.
“Fishing communities and fisheries stakeholders are critical to our offshore energy development process, and we’re looking forward to discussions on this draft guidance,” said BOEM Director Amanda Lefton. “We’re seeking open and honest conversations focused on finding solutions to potential challenges as we work to provide clean, safe domestic energy for American taxpayers while at the same time providing good-paying jobs and building a U.S. supply chain to support this effort.”
The draft guidance provides detailed processes and methodologies to the offshore wind industry and lessees to mitigate impacts to fisheries in the areas of project siting, design, navigation, access, safety, and financial compensation. This guidance will help ensure consistent use of data and methodologies across projects and states and assist lessees and BOEM in the preparation and review of construction and operations plans.
To facilitate comments, BOEM will hold a series of public meetings to discuss the contents of the draft guidance and hear from commercial and recreational fishers and other interested parties firsthand.
Meetings will be held on the following dates and times:
- July 11, 9 to 11 a.m. EDT: East Coast Meeting
- July 15, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. PDT: West Coast Meeting
- July 18, 9 to 11 a.m. CDT: Gulf Coast Meeting
- July 21, 9 to 11 a.m. EDT: Developers Meeting
Registration for the meetings and additional information will be shared on BOEM’s website in the coming days.
While these meetings are focused on obtaining input from the fishing industry and recreational fishers, they are open to the public and anyone can provide comments via regulations.gov.
BOEM will review and consider comments on the draft guidance as it develops final guidance over the summer of 2022.
“We want feedback on the entirety of mitigation framework, from facility design considerations to recommendations on compensatory mitigation, particularly from the people and organizations that this guidance is meant to aid,” said BOEM Marine Biologist Brian Hooker.
For more information about the draft guidance, how to register for the fisheries mitigation workshops, and how to submit comments, visit BOEM’s website.