Prime Fishing Areas and Offshore Wind
Planning for Offshore Wind
Construction of offshore wind farms will alter the existing habitats at each individual turbine location through the installation of foundations and offshore substations. Potential impacts to the marine ecosystem from offshore wind development can occur during varying activities that take place throughout the planning, development, and operational life of wind energy development.
There are four phases of development: preconstruction, construction, operations, and decommissioning. Impacts through the four phases may occur to fish species that are susceptible to acoustic surveying or noise generating and bottom-disturbing surveys.
Recreational angler concerns focus on wind farm development near existing Prime Fishing Areas as having a high likelihood of creating habitat and species assemblage changes, impacting and preventing recreational fishing during construction, impacting recreational fishing through prohibition of access or through security boats around structures, and navigational hazards.
Several wind energy development projects are either leased or planned off the coast of New Jersey, which have the potential to modify prime fishing areas. Here we highlight three angler identified location concerns around conflicts between Prime Fishing Areas and these wind energy development projects.
Atlantic City Reef
This PFA is located approximately 35 NM offshore of Great Bay, NJ. It is an area comprised of sand and shell ridges that have formed into the shape of long sinuous fingers, hence the colloquial name given to the area by local fishermen. These ridges lie in 120 feet of water, and are predominantly used by fishermen targeting shark species such as mako or thresher, mahi mahi, and tuna species such as bluefin, and yellowfin. This PFA is located entirely within the BOEM’s New York Bight Draft Wind Energy Area (Secondary) proposed lease boundary.