The Fishing and Marine Industry Daily News Feed

Federal Regulator Acknowledges Danger To Wildlife Caused By Offshore Wind Farms

The federally-chartered regulator responsible for managing fisheries in the oceans of New England acknowledged that offshore wind farms could pose a threat to the local marine wildlife, according to a letter obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Thomas Nies, executive director of the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC), noted the “concerning implications” of a study by researchers from the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research, which found that the high voltage direct current (HVDC) power cables used by some offshore wind farms emitted magnetic fields that could hinder the ability of haddock larvae to navigate, according to a January 18 letter obtained by the DCNF. The negative impact on both the haddocks’ speed and ability to navigate could result in increased “predation” of affected fish.

Offshore wind farms typically utilize one of two cables to transport power back to shore, known as high voltage alternating current (HVAC) and HVDC, with the former preferred for short-range projects within roughly 30 miles of shore and the latter preferred for more long-range projects, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior. Multiple recent studies have demonstrated that a variety of commercially popular fish can be negatively impacted by their exposure to magnetic fields emitted by HVDCs, which can confuse their ability to navigate and in some cases leave them exposed to predators.

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