AWEA releases video of fish feeding at America’s first offshore wind farm

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind (SIOW), based at the University of Delaware, have released video footage of fish feeding at America’s first offshore wind farm.
AWEA releases video of fish feeding at America’s first offshore wind farm
Courtesy of AWEA

The video clearly demonstrates fish and other marine life are moving into offshore wind zones, with the turbines acting as artificial reefs.

Offshore wind is proving to be very popular in America with the federal government and states including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut all taking significant actions recently to boost demand. America’s first offshore project, the Block Island Wind Farm, was completed just over a year ago, in late 2016 and the sector has continued to grow steadily since then.

A recent study from Europe, where hundreds of offshore wind turbines are already installed, found that a single turbine can support up to four metric tons of shellfish, which in turn attracts fish to the area. Stephanie McClellan, Director for SIOW. “As the industry scales up in the U.S., communities up and down our coasts, especially in the Northeast, will want to know what offshore wind means for them. “When it comes to fishing, the science is convincing, but ultimately seeing is believing. That’s why we took an underwater videographer to Block Island to see for ourselves. There's a frenzy of fish and other marine life making a new home near the Block Island turbine foundations, which act as artificial reefs. Marine life is thriving, as studies confirm.”

Block Island residents, including fishermen, have been pleased with the results a year after the wind farm came online. Electricity rates are down, tourism is up, and the island has access to high speed internet for the first time because of the project.

One of those residents, Chris Hobe, is captain and owner at Fish the World Charters, a small business that has seen new opportunities taking tourists to see the turbines up close.

“During the charter season I was taking people out to the wind farm almost every day,” said Hobe. “Even though I wasn’t out there to fish, I’m always scanning the bottom and it’s clear there are a lot of fish active at the wind farm. People never used to fish that spot before the turbines, and now it’s really popular.”

Stephanie McClellan added that the wind industry is now committed to making offshore wind work for the entire fishing community, in the strong belief that American fisherman can prosper while this new American ocean energy resource is developing.

For additional information:

American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)

Special Initiative on Offshore Wind (SIOW)

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