Advisory group asks Port to voice support for current ocean users in offshore wind debate

April 20, 2022
Heather Mann

The Port of Newport maintains an advisory committee made up of representatives from different segments of Newport’s commercial fishing industry. The Commercial Fishing User’s Group Committee is tasked with “providing guidance and recommendations to the Port of Newport Board of Commissioners on issues related to the commercial fishing docks and international terminal, port services and policies.” 

I serve as chair of this committee, which met recently to discuss ongoing activities related to the Port’s transition to assigned moorage spaces and to hear about the Port’s longer-term plans to upgrade Port Dock 7. Towards the end of the meeting the topic of offshore wind development activities arose.   

The current areas being considered for wind energy development contain prime fishing grounds for species that are important both to Newport fishermen and our processors. Losing access to those fishing grounds due to wind energy installations will cause cascading negative impacts to harvesters, processors, support services, the Port of Newport, and ultimately the community. The committee believes it is important for the Port of Newport to consider taking a position to prioritize current ocean users and stakeholders over offshore wind development companies as the process moves forward.  The letter linked below, signed by all active members of the committee, asks just that and I expect the Port Commission will likely move forward with a work session to consider the request prior to taking a position.

You can read the letter from CFUG to the Port Commission here.