Oregon Fishing Industry Members Call for Pause to Oregon Offshore Wind Development

Potential offshore wind development areas off the Oregon coast. Image: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

A coalition of commercial fishers, seafood companies and others involved in the commercial fishing industry have sent a letter to Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek asking that her administration try halting a planned federal government auction of offshore wind energy projects.

In the letter, dated March 26, the more than 100 signatories said that the plan for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) should be put on hold until the state has completed its own offshore wind (OSW) potential assessment under legislation referred to as the Oregon Roadmap.

“It is our opinion that BOEM moving forward with an auction in 2024 completely undermines the unique cooperation that has occurred through this preliminary roadmap consideration process,” the coalition wrote. “This threatens the important work in Oregon that must be done before any further activities by BOEM is undertaken.”

“It is our understanding that if an auction is not completed in 2024, the next opportunity would be in 2026,” the letter continues. “This timing works well with the completion of a roadmap and is responsive to the concerns from existing ocean users and coastal communities alike.”

Oregon’s legislation states that the roadmap must be complete by Sept. 1, 2025.

“Moving the process forward with a lease auction prior to completion of the roadmap is premature and threatens the ability to consider offshore wind energy development in an equitable, holistic and bottom-up way,” the letter states.

The document is signed by more than 75 independent fishing vessel operators, as well as various seafood processing companies, other businesses and organizing groups. Among the undersigned Oare West Coast Seafood Processors, the Coalition of Coastal Fisheries, the Fishermen’s Marketing Association, the Oregon Salmon Commission and Ocean Gold Seafoods.

“It is not just fishermen and coastal communities that are concerned—it is environmentalists, marine scientists, local governments, and citizens. Governor Kotek, you can shape this process for Oregon. Please tell BOEM no lease auction until Oregon’s roadmap is completed.

The seafood industry, according to the letter, supports more than 13,500 Oregon jobs and generates more than $386 million in income. Secondary impacts from Oregon’s sustainable seafood industry contribute an additional $160.5 million in revenue.

As of now, Kotek has yet to indicate whether she plans to do as the coalition asks and request that the BOEM pause its OSW plans for Oregon waters.