New England: Offshore Wind (OSW)Mitigation & Compensation Management Concerns

December 7, 2021

I ask that you please disseminate my following comments that I would like the Council to consider, regarding my thoughts on developing a recommendation for the Mitigation and Compensation Program. Their knowledge and understanding of the fishing community will go a long way in realizing the importance in getting this program developed to the best of the abilities of all concerned.

Following, you will find an email which I sent to a “Williams-Mystic Maritime Studies program student” with some of the concerns that I have with the minimal direction, and effort that I believe we have expended to the planning & understanding of the immense issues that will arise if we do not plan for, understand, or consider with serious regard for, what we will be required to deal with, along with the various financial complications of the Compensation and Mitigation Programs! I was responding to some of the additional questions that he had following an interview that we had done several days ago.

History has already shown us how quickly and far afield these money issues can, and will, develop and grow into situations where they cause even more issues, rather than mitigate them to the best resolution, not only for the fishing communities, but for the Offshore Wind Energy Developers as well.

Spending money without comprehensive planning, is not resolving or mitigating the cause and effect that will soon affect most of the people within the commercial & recreational fishing communities. I feel that some new and innovative thinking should be expended as to how to get ahead of these developing complex concerns.

I would like to ask you to please review my comments listed below & offer your thoughts and ideas as to how we can best resolve and minimize these issues for all involved and/or concerned! The efforts expended today in resolving these problems of the ocean users, along with the future of the developing energy needs of our country, likely hangs in the balance.

December 7, 2021
Hi Darren:

Glad to hear all seems to be moving on smoothly and well for you. In response to your question, let me begin with this; most, if not all, of the negotiations for compensation and/or mitigations were done without any serious or involved assistance from the Massachusetts
fishing industry and/or fishing community.

While I haven’t given any direct thought to the amount of money, or its planned dispersal, from what I already knew, it’s unlikely to meet the future losses that will be sustained by the Mass fishing industry!

I know that VW was somewhat uncomfortable with the process of the negotiations with the State, minus the industry, as we were when we learned of what had occurred.

One last point, is that I, along with others, strongly feel that the State (Mass. or any of the others) should not be in charge of holding and/or distributing whatever funds are set aside for those purposes! The distributions should be handled by regional boards that would be designated to be responsible for area impacts, and fisheries. A larger, or even smaller managing body would be unlikely to:

1) have the expertise to handle non-regional fisheries (coast wide fisheries),

2) unlikely to be able to represent fishermen who are not fishing locally at that point in time (e.g., NB scallopers fishing down in the Mid-Atlantic or elsewhere).

3) the states, even the states’ fishery divisions, do not have the time (nor likely the disposition) to dedicate or commit enough resources to do an adequate job of handling this amount of monies (particularly when unspent funds are usually kept by those states at the end of time-certain periods!)

Case in point; the remedial federal monies that were handled by Mass DMF to compensate the holders of certain GF permits who were impacted by
regulations. After the funds were originally dispensed equally among all those qualifying permit holders {the first inequity} (as the actual efforts and/or landings as an original qualifier, were no longer pertinent,) a small group of fishermen learned that because of the language that the state used to designate who would qualify, appealed for their share of the funds even though they hadn’t actively fished the qualifying permits.

The funds were already allocated, with none left, so the DMF went and rescinded the funds from one vessel owner who had multiple permits which
had originally qualified and reallocated them to the vessels who came to the party late…!

4) As an example, consider what problems would develop when an out-of-area vessel tried to submit a claim to a state (other than his own) for compensation either for damages, lost revenue, or some other qualifier.

These are just some of the problems that I expect to see arise even before we begin to get beyond the development phase that we are currently at. I expect that others can identify even more issues than what I have raised here. Money has a way of doing that; raising issues that weren’t there even a short while ago. “We had better plan for it, and plan better, with more foresight than we currently have, or previously had!

PS: Let me know what you think, or if you need any further clarification or additional
information, not to mention any other biases that I have?

Jim Kendall
New Bedford Seafood Consulting
[email protected]

(508) 997-0013 Office