Proposed plans to build more than 200 wind turbines off of Long Island’s South Shore and in New York Bight have generated conflicting views between many anglers, and the recreational and commercial fishing industries. It seems whenever the conversation comes up there are some anglers, captains and other recreational stakeholders who point to places like the Gulf where oil platforms have provided structure that has resulted in excellent fishing opportunities. The desire for clean power and moving away from dependency on fossil fuels is also cited as a reason for supporting the “wind farms.”

On the other side is concern for the impact the turbines may have on fish migrations, the marine environment overall, and concerns about security zones limiting access to fishing areas. Commercial fishermen seem very much united in their opposition to the proposed turbines. The Long Island Commercial Fishing Association is part of a lawsuit contesting the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) auction for a lease area of some 70,000 acres 15 miles south of Long Beach known as the Empire Wind Project. Another project proposed for the East End some 30 miles offshore is meeting stiff resistance from commercial fishermen as well.

BOEM has identified four areas for leasing rights that extend from North Jersey to the East End. They include Fairways North, Fairways South, Hudson North, and Hudson South. The area is comprised of 222 whole Outer Continental Shelf blocks and 172 partial blocks, and comprises about 2,047 square nautical miles. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), has its own map which does not include the East End site (Fairways North), and has publicly stated they do not support that proposed project.

If you would like to express your concerns or support for wind farms off of Long Island’s shores, there is still time. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced it would accept comments through July 5 regarding its proposed path forward for offshore renewable energy leasing on the Atlantic. In response to calls from maritime and fishing industry groups, BOEM also announced that it is extending a comment period specifically for the New York Bight region until July 30. The original comment period had a deadline of May 21. Stakeholders and interested parties should submit comments electronically or written by the following means:

Electronically: In the entry titled ‘‘Enter Keyword or ID,’’ search for BOEM-2018-0018. Follow the instructions to submit public comments in response to this document.

Written Comments: In written form, delivered by hand or by mail, enclosed in an envelope labeled ‘‘Comments on Request for Feedback’’ to: Office of Renewable Energy Programs, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, 45600 Woodland Road VAM-OREP, Sterling, Virginia 20166.

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