Dutch MEP Peter van Dalen answers BalticWind.EU’s questions on cooperation between fishermen and emerging offshore wind industry. On July 7, 2021, Members of the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the impact of offshore wind farms and other renewable energy systems on the fisheries sector.

Parliament is sounding the alarm over the future construction of offshore wind farms. The construction of new wind turbines in the seas of the Old Continent could have a serious negative impact on fisheries. They are demanding the introduction of measures to safeguard the lives of fishermen.

As reported in BalticWind.EU, the resolution emphasized that fishermen and stakeholders must have a “fair share” in the decision-making process related to the construction of wind turbines in European waters. Such cooperation could help reduce the potential negative impacts of wind turbines on fisheries and strengthen the relationship between the sectors involved.

Coastal and small-scale fishing, which accounts for 80 percent of all fishing vessels in the EU, may be particularly affected by the installation of new wind turbines in the sea, the resolution reads. Member States should provide for adequate compensation for affected fishermen and facilitate access to insurance for vessels operating in or passing through areas with wind turbines.

“With a majority of almost 75 percent of all votes, the European Parliament has made a strong statement and support for my report and believes that real cooperation and proper involvement of fishermen in the planning and design of offshore wind farms must be the precondition for co-existence and multi-use of fisheries within OWFs”, says Peter van Dalen in a commentary for BalticWind.EU.

He adds that in order to have a level-playing field for the fisheries sector, a timely and effective participation of fishers with a decisive voice has to be ensured with regard to both the lay-out and the placement of OWFs. “Maritime Spatial Planning must play a key-role to achieve this.”

“Therefore the adopted resolution can be an important element in the context of the continued work and subsequent revisions of the national maritime spatial plans, to take into account the need to ensure that the negative effects of offshore wind turbines on fisheries must be avoided.”

The compensation for fishers

“Mitigation measures need to be developed before, during, and after the OWFs construction. This should account as well for socio-economic mitigation measures, including compensation”, says MEP.

“The European Parliament stated clearly the need for appropriate compensation for fishers if the establishment of OWFs affects their activities as a last resort. The report does not comment on who should pay. In my view it is without saying that it should not be paid primarily by taxpayers money but by those who invest in OWFs.”