Editor’s Log: Duck & Cover? - The Fisherman

Editor’s Log: Duck & Cover?

Maybe some of you had the chance to read my April Editor’s Log entitled “Is This Really a Victory?”, if you didn’t, here’s a brief summary. Basically, the whole piece was about offshore wind energy and how I had wanted to support it initially, but after doing a lot of my own research, I realized that it was something I simply could not support.

The reasons are varied and greater in number than the many I outlined in that column, but the main issue I have with the whole thing is that we’ve been lied to all along, from golden oldies like, “they’ll be beyond the 3 miles that we can see to the horizon and, therefore, out of sight” (which is not true because the turbines average about 900 feet tall!); or the fact that nobody ever talks about offshore substations which chlorinate and heat 10 million gallons of sea water per day and discharge that water back into the ocean, I had to dig deep to find that info, there will be at least 30 of these scattered throughout New England waters.

Even the whale myths have turned out to be a farce, NOAA has issued a turbine-sized stack of incidental take authorizations (a license to harass, harm or kill endangered marine mammals without consequence) to wind developers (totaling more than 900 so far) and the fact that a steady stream of whale and dolphin carcasses have been washing up ever since, is no coincidence. The carefully worded, shrug-shouldered explanation “an unusual mortality event” that has been supposedly stumping scientists is laid right out there for anyone to figure out. It’s not that hard for average me, imagine if there were people who performed necropsies on every dead whale that washed up on the beach? Oh wait, there are! I highly doubt they were permitted to “shrug it off” at any other time in their careers.

When that column went to print, I sat in my office, my stomach in knots as I waited for the angry feedback and outcry to come flooding in. As if on cue, my email alert chimed and it was about editor’s log. “Really good!” was the subject of the email. By dinnertime that evening, I had received dozens of responses, via text, email and phone. Every single one of them was positive! In fact, most of them were thanking me for ‘saying what needed to be said’. By the end of that first week, I still had not heard one word of criticism. Charter captains from Cape Cod to Connecticut also offered thanks, some of them were names I’d never even heard before.

I realize by writing this follow-up, I am inviting someone to break my streak. But what I’ve come to realize is that there really aren’t that many fishermen supporting offshore wind. And I’d like to think that’s because, in a world where more and more people experience life through the tiny screens on their phones, fishermen are of a rare breed that still goes outside, on purpose. I believe we feel a stronger connection to the ocean and have a deeper understanding of the role it plays in the delicate balance between weather and wildlife and fish and migrations and storms and temperature gradients and climate health and the overall well-being of the planet. When we screw around with that balance, bad things will follow.

When I look out over the ocean and see those turbines, I don’t see progress or well up with any sense of promise, I see it as newly paved wilderness, I see it as a loss of wildness and I see it as a lie that I can’t understand why someone told in the first place. But as one of the anglers I spoke with at the RISAA show so eloquently put it, “Money is the answer. Now, what was the question?”

Bought and sold we were, and we didn’t even know it.

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