Spatial planning flunks first major test

08 Mar 2011

In the annual Maine Fisherman's Forum, the Bangor Daily News Reports that BOEMER is giving wind power development projects zoning rights over other uses of the ocean resources, all in the name of marine spatial planning.

"Paul Howard, executive director of New England Fishery Management Council, said the potential impact to commercial fishermen is too great for them not to be directly involved. He said existing marine planning programs, such as the process by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement that has been dealing with tidal and offshore wind energy development proposals, have not involved fishermen enough."

"Gary Libby, a Port Clyde fisherman, said there are many ways Maine's $448 million commercial fishing industry can be affected. He asked if fishermen will have access to where offshore turbines might be located; if electromagnetic fields generated by underwater power lines would drive fish away; and if offshore energy projects would affect the presence of food sources for commercially harvested fish."

David Wallace, of Wallace Associates, a seafood consulting firm, summed up the acidic criticisms of the fishing industry when he stated: "We do not have the opportunity as fishermen to be directly involved in the process, and that concerns me."

In response to the concerns expressed by the fisherman, the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness, a regulatory watchdog, will issue a Regulatory Alert highlighting the deficiencies in the marine spatial planning process sanctioned by the National Oceans Council which is under the leadership of the White House Council on Environmental Quality for which staff support is provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness has an Interactive Public Docket dedicated to marine spatial planning; the public is invited to express their opinions.

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