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Marine / Offshore wind developers urged to protect fishing industry ahead of visit to isles this week

An example of floating wind turbines.

OFFSHORE wind farm developers are being urged to spend some of their billion pound-plus development resources on protecting Shetland’s fishing industry.

This includes a call to make compensation payments for the potential loss of fishing access and income to the local fleet.

Ocean Winds, Mainstream Renewables and ESB Asset Development are behind three proposed floating developments to the east of Shetland, licensed through Crown Estate Scotland’s ScotWind auction.

Representatives from the three companies are due to visit Shetland on Wednesday and Thursday. Shetland News has asked for the opportunity to interview the representatives of the companies behind the proposals.

Shetland Fishermen’s Association (SFA) is calling for them to make a series of commitments to ensure that one of the isles’ most vital industries is not crowded out of important fishing grounds.

The Offshore Wind Developer Principles, drawn up by the association in conjunction with Shetland Islands Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and companies Malakoff, Ocean Kinetics, LEF and Voar Energy, ask that developers commit to:

  • Thorough scientific research to assess likely impacts on fish and shellfish stocks and spawning/nursery grounds
  • Independent scientific monitoring of development sites and associated infrastructure
  • Co-operate to ensure that cables are routed into shared and buried cable corridors
  • Prior consultation on offshore mooring system and turbine micro-siting that mitigate the spatial impact on fishing opportunities
  • Liaise with the fishing fleet and other marine users to create passage corridors that allow for safe and timely transit between fishing grounds and harbours/markets
  • Remove all development infrastructure and return seabed to natural fishable state when developments are concluded
  • Make disturbance payments during construction and compensation payments for the loss of fishing access and income to the fleet
  • The use of local fishing boats for guard vessel duty as part of site security arrangements during construction and operation.

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SFA executive officer Daniel Lawson said: “Offshore wind farm developers have vast resources at their disposal to develop these sites, which cumulatively and in conjunction with other spatial pressures pose a grave risk to the future of the fishing industry.

“Given the importance of the industry to Shetland, they have an obligation to commit to these principles.

“This is a fishing community, and we want to work with developers to create a win-win situation, low carbon food as well as low carbon power, with all the economic benefits that both will bring to the isles.”

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