PFMC Urges Rescinding Oregon Offshore Wind Energy Call Areas

Two Oregon call areas totaling 1.1 million acres. Image via Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) on March 9 joined commercial fisheries entities in recommending that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) rescind the current Oregon call areas designated for floating offshore wind energy management and restart the siting process.

In reconsidering the issue, the PFMC urged BOEM to use a spatial mapping tool focused on identifying deconflicted areas suitable for wind energy development.

A copy of the council’s recommendation was also sent to Oregon Gov. Tina Kotel.

Seven council advisory groups have provided statements voicing concerns about the current process, with several calling for BOEM to rescind the current call areas.

“The Council’s action sends a strong signal to BOEM that fisheries leaders do not want to risk losing our productive fisheries, the scientific surveys on which our fisheries management depends, or the health of our ocean ecosystems due to offshore wind,” said Susan Chambers, deputy director of the West Coast Seafood Processors Association, and co-chair of the council’s marine planning committee.

“The California current is one of the most productive ecosystems in the world,” she added. “We need to get this right.”

“We hear the climate crisis is so severe that collateral damage to birds, whales, the California current ecosystem, food security, even to fisheries, fishermen and rural community economies is an accepted part of the transition to cleaner energy,” Midwater Trawlers Cooperative Executive Director Heather Mann said in her testimony to the council.

Members of the fishing industry, environmental groups, tribes and several others advisory bodies to the council also support more widespread use of the mapping tool.