NOAA, BOEM Develop Joint Strategy for Fisheries Surveys

File photo of an offshore wind farm.

A Federal Survey Mitigation Strategy developed by NOAA Fisheries and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is the new vehicle for the two agencies to address potential impacts of offshore wind energy development on NOAA Fisheries’ scientific surveys.

An announcement from NOAA on Monday, Dec. 5 stated that the new strategy underscores both agencies’ commitment to the Biden-Harris administration’s clean energy goals of responsibly advancing offshore wind energy production while protecting biodiversity and promoting mutual use of the ocean.

NOAA Fisheries scientists have been collecting survey data that forms the basis of science-based management of America’s federal fisheries for 150 years. This new strategy is expected to ensure the quality of NOAA’s fisheries surveys and data are maintained as the nation develops offshore wind energy, according to NOAA Fisheries.

“Our fisheries surveys allow NOAA to monitor important trends for individual species over time, with the broader goals of understanding marine ecosystems, particularly in the face of climate change, and supporting sustainable fisheries,” Fisheries Assistant Administrator Janet Coit said.

“By taking a collective approach, we can leverage the expertise and resources of our federal partners to ensure responsible development of offshore wind energy,” BOEM Director Amanda Lefton said.

During the environmental review of the first offshore wind energy project on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf, BOEM and NOAA Fisheries identified major adverse impacts on surveys conducted in the Northeast region.

In response, a draft survey mitigation strategy was developed and made available for public comment earlier this year.

Now finalized, the strategy identifies the essential components of mitigating the impacts of offshore wind energy development on the surveys.

Strategy goals range from mitigation of impacts of offshore wind energy development on NOAA Fisheries surveys to collaboratively sharing this strategy with other regions and countries where offshore wind energy development is planned or underway.