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Wind Power Projects Ignore Town Dock Fishermen

Town Dock Fishermen, like their counterparts across the Northeast, have struggled to remain afloat in the face of stringent regulations aimed at replenishing dwindling stocks of cod, flounder, and other species over the past three decades. Some diversified, relying on “underutilised” species like squid and whiting to augment their dwindling profits, while others retired or moved to land.

However, now that many species have recovered and government regulators are allowing fishermen to land more fish, the Town Dock Fishermen face a new threat: offshore wind power projects. Fishermen like Joe Gilbert, who owns four scallop and fishing boats based at the Town Dock, claim that federal officials are ignoring their concerns as they lease vast swaths of ocean floor off the Northeast coast to wind power companies.

Some of those stretches of bottom also serve as landing and transit zones for fishing vessels. He also said that he and other fishermen are not opposed to the development of green energy projects. Gilbert said, “A lot of people sacrificed a lot to rebuild a sustainable fishery and keep Stonington a vibrant fishing community. We’re racing forward with all these projects, with no science. This has never been done on this scale any place on earth.”

The turbines would be located in relatively shallow areas in order to fully utilise the wind energy capacity. Some of these spots just appear to be fish magnets. Gilbert went on to say that replacing one green, sustainable sector, such as fishing, with another made no sense. Bob Guzzo, a long-time Town Dock fisherman, claims that the federal government is giving away land that has been used to feed people for over 300 years.

Town Dock Fishermen are being told to negotiate with each company directly, rather than federal regulators integrating their concerns into the lease agreements for the various wind power projects, according to Gilbert.

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