EXCLUSIVE: Federal Regulator Acknowledges Danger To Wildlife Caused By Offshore Wind Farms

  • The Federal Fisheries Council has admitted that some power cables for offshore wind turbines can harm certain fish, according to a letter seen by DCNF.
  • Multiple recent studies have demonstrated that a variety of commercially popular fish can be adversely affected by exposure to magnetic fields emitted by high-voltage DC cables.
  • Thomas Nies, Executive Director of the New England Fisheries Management Council (NEFMC) said: said in a letter dated January 18.

A federally chartered regulator responsible for managing fisheries in New England waters said offshore wind farms could pose a threat to local marine life, according to a letter obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation. admitted.

Thomas Nies, executive director of the New England Fisheries Management Council (NEFMC), said: study High voltage direct current (HVDC) power cables used in some offshore wind farms emit magnetic fields that can impede the ability of haddock larvae to move, according to a January 18 letter obtained. According to researchers at the Norwegian Institute of Oceanography, who discovered that by DCNF. Negative effects on both haddock speed and locomotion ability may increase ‘predation’ of affected fish.

Offshore wind farms typically send power back to shore using one of two cables known as high voltage alternating current (HVAC) and HVDC. The former is preferred for short-haul projects within about 30 miles of shore, while the latter is preferred for longer distances. – range of projects, according to to the U.S. Department of the Interior. many recently the study We have demonstrated that a variety of commercially popular fish can be adversely affected when exposed to magnetic fields emitted by HVDC. This can disrupt their ability to move and possibly expose them to predators. (Related: Exclusive: Enviros quietly sounded alarms in offshore winds as whale died)

Captain Jerry Lehman, who heads the fishing vessel Teresa Marie IV, sent a copy of the Norwegian Haddock Study to Nice in a letter dated January 9. Noting the similarities between cod and haddock, he notes that a proposed offshore wind project off the Gulf of Maine would require cables to run through the cod’s spawning grounds, exposing them to predators and fishermen alike, leaving individuals We expressed concern about the possible depletion of numbers.

“Thank you for your letter of January 9….We have been aware of this research for some time and are concerned about the possible impact of high voltage DC cables on larval behavior and consequent predation rates.” “Most projects off the Atlantic coast plan for alternative current-carrying cables, but this is not uniformly the case, and the types of cables that may be used for projects in the Gulf of Maine” is unknown.”

The NEFMC is a federally chartered group responsible for “fish stock conservation and management” off the coast of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. according to to that website. The council has her 18 voting members, one of whom is the regional manager of the federal agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries. person in charge For national marine conservation, the rest are state officials or appointees approved by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

“To be clear, we do not control all activities in the Gulf of Maine. We control many fisheries in the Gulf of Maine. or has no formal role in regulation,” Nies said in a statement to the DCNF, noting that regulators can only make definitive statements about approved projects. “We have commented to the BOEM on wind projects and, based on our expertise in fisheries science and management, have raised concerns related to resources under our jurisdiction.”

NEFMC’s Submarine Cable PolicyManage cables that carry offshore wind farms to land. There is no explicit mention of high voltage cables, but the policy prohibits placing cables “wherever possible in sensitive and important fish habitats” such as spawning grounds. doing.

MARINE – JULY 7: Wind turbines generate electricity on July 7, 2022 at Block Island Wind Farm near Block Island, Rhode Island. The structure, the first commercial offshore wind farm in the United States, is located 3.8 miles from Block Island, Rhode Island in the Atlantic Ocean. The five-turbine, 30 MW project was developed by Deepwater Wind and began operations in December 2016 at a cost of approximately $300 million. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

“The council does not take a position on the relative environmental impacts of HVAC and HVDC cables,” Nies said in a statement, referring to the agency’s submarine cable policy to the DCNF. “Our policy is primarily focused on careful cabling and burial, as well as proper monitoring and communications.”

Maine currently has no active offshore wind projects, but the state government approval In January, it will advance a grant to deploy a dozen floating offshore wind turbines. according to To the Bureau of Marine Management (BOEM). BOEM is currently leading a series of meetings to assess private interest in offshore wind projects in the region, and the state government launch Maine Offshore Wind Initiative in 2019 to promote industry in the state.

“At the moment, the draft call area is very extensive and covers a large area of ​​the Gulf of Maine,” Nice told DCNF of the project’s potential impact in Maine. Some of the locations would be best suited for HVDC cables, given their distance from the coast.”

In 2021, about 16 million pounds of haddock worth about $20 million was commercially harvested in the United States. according to to NOAA.

Offshore wind projects have faced scrutiny from some environmental activists amid the recent unexplained deaths of whales and dolphins on the East Coast. In late February, the Biden administration announced plans to accelerate federal investment in offshore wind projects, but environmentalists in New Jersey blamed it for the unexplained sea death as a potential cause. He criticized the administration for holding back the investigation of offshore wind power generation.

All content produced by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent, nonpartisan newswire service, is available free of charge to legitimate news publishers capable of serving large audiences. All republished articles must include the logo, the reporter’s byline, and his DCNF affiliation. If you have any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact us at

Leave a Reply