Offshore renewable energy development is being sought by US coastal states to meet their renewable energy goals. Numerous offshore wind development projects are being proposed along the Atlantic coast, and additional areas are being explored in the Pacific. Commercial-scale offshore wind will share the seas with marine fisheries that provide immense economic, recreational, and cultural value as well as local food security. An acceleration in the number of proposed wind projects combined with a lack of clarity on how fishing activities are to be incorporated into the planning process has created numerous challenges for the fishing community and for fisheries managers. This paper explores ecological, human, and fishery management interactions with wind development, focusing on the Northeast US Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem. With an emphasis on a regional perspective, we identify key challenges to and opportunities for the goal of coexistence of offshore wind energy development and fishing activities, and we make several recommendations toward achieving this goal. Although the challenges to achieving coexistence of these two industries are significant, we argue that they are surmountable and can be overcome through a combination of collaboration, regional approaches, and innovation.
This article is part of Oceanography's Special Issue on Understanding the Effects of Offshore Wind Energy Development on Fisheries.