Tag Archives: Rhode Island

Vineyard Wind 1 Fisheries Compensation Program Application Deadline Approaching

This notice is a reminder to commercial fishermen that the eligibility period to apply for the Vineyard Wind 1 Fisheries Compensatory Mitigation Program ends on June 3, 2024. Commercial fishing vessel owners/operators must submit an online application prior to the June 3, 2024, deadline, to be considered for eligibility.  The program is open to commercial fishing vessel owners/lessees in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island who can demonstrate historical fishing activities in the lease area, OCS-A 0501, which is south of Martha’s Vineyard. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 06:00

Raimondo, state leaders celebrate work on new NOAA center in Newport. Why it’s coming to RI

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo was back in her home state Monday to celebrate the groundbreaking for the new headquarters of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Atlantic Ocean research fleet. “Here in the Ocean State, climate change is real,” Raimondo said. “We know the risks – but also the opportunities – that come with living and working along the coast.” She spoke as construction crews in the background drove piles for the pier that will become the homeport for four NOAA research ships. The facility, which is expected to be completed in 2027, will also include a floating dock for smaller vessels, repair space and a building for shoreside support and storage. About 150 NOAA personnel will be based at the center. Photos, Video, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 15:09

Lobsterman Eric Joseph Roggero of Newport, Rhode Island, has passed away

The family of Eric sadly announces his passing on April 20th in the loving care of Laura Blackwell and hospice. In lieu of donations his family requests you get your routine cancer screenings. By the time Eric graduated from Rogers he was already working on a career in the fishing industry. Luckily he had some great mentors including two grandfathers and two lobsterman brothers who helped him along the way. He was a natural on the bay and later on his own boat. The Donna Marie was his pride and joy. His family thanks the Newport fishing community for their very generous support during his illness. They mourn his loss with us. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 08:36

3 New York wind farms scrapped – Cost implications for Mass., Conn., and R.I.

New York pulled the plug Friday on three offshore wind projects that encountered pricing problems after GE canceled the development of a larger turbine that the developers had been counting on. The decision is a setback for the US offshore wind industry and may have some cost implications for Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, which are in the midst of a joint procurement for offshore wind power. The three wind farms proposed for the coast off New York were all tied to a plan by GE Vernova to start producing giant 18-megawatt turbines at a facility on the Hudson River to be subsidized by the state. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 10:04

Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut receive proposals for offshore wind projects

Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut received proposals Wednesday for offshore wind projects as the three East Coast states hope to boost their reliance on the renewable energy source. The three states joined in a historic agreement that allows for potential coordinated selection of offshore wind projects. Massachusetts received bids from Avangrid Renewables, South Coast Wind Energy and Vineyard Offshore in response to the region’s largest solicitation to date for offshore wind, seeking up to 3,600 megawatts. more, >>click to read<< 08:07

Stock Assessments Benefit from Rockhopper Trawl Efficiency Study

A collaborative study conducted aboard a Rhode Island-based commercial trawler from 2015 to 2017 is bearing fruit. It was led by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center and commercial fishermen interested in how catches of the same species varied depending on the type of trawl net used. Since 2019, stock assessment scientists have used the results from this Northeast Trawl Advisory Panel study in multiple stock assessments to ensure sustainable fisheries for several flounder species as well as monkfish and red hake. Specifically, the results help produce more accurate estimates of abundance which can increase the confidence in catch advice for some species. “Cooperative research is essential to obtain accurate assessments and catch advice in our nation’s fisheries,” said Chris Roebuck, former Northeast Trawl Advisory Panel member, commercial fisherman and participant in the experiment. “This research is an excellent example of collaboration between scientists and fishermen. It provided solid efficiency numbers for each targeted species,” he said. “The information produced was clearly the best available science and has the potential to ultimately influence catch advice for every species evaluated.” Photos, lots of links, more, >>click to read<< 12:29

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse backed laws to benefit wife’s company and their ‘financial interests’: ethics complaint

Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a crusader for new ethics guidelines at the Supreme Court, was himself hit with an ethics complaint last month after backing two dozen pieces of legislation that have benefited his wife’s environmental consulting company. Whitehouse, 68, has been dogged by ethics questions since his first years in the Senate, when he secured a $22 million federal grant for an offshore wind company, Deepwater Wind, that had hired his wife as a “permitting consultant,” the complaint states, citing contemporaneous reports from local Rhode Island outlets. Sandra Thornton Whitehouse is currently the president of Newport, RI-based, for-profit consulting firm Ocean Wonks, LLC, raking in millions of dollars for her work with non-profit clients that profited from her husband’s legislative activity. Video, photos, more, >>click to read<< 06:42

On-Demand Lobster and Jonah Crab Gear Testing off Massachusetts and Rhode Island Gets Underway

The Northeast Fisheries Science Center Gear Research Team is collaborating with up to 30 commercial lobster vessels to test on-demand (also called ropeless) fishing gear in state and federal waters that are otherwise closed to lobster and Jonah crab fishing with static vertical lines.  Participating vessels will fish trap trawls without any surface gear marks in the “potential on-demand testing areas” shown here. The fixed gear involved in this research will not be visible at the surface since it has no surface buoys. links, more, >>click to read<< 12:01

Landmark Legal Battle: Fishermen Challenge Regulatory Overreach Impacting Livelihoods

In a pivotal move, the Supreme Court has accepted a second challenge to the long-standing legal doctrine known as “Chevron deference.” This doctrine, born from a 1984 ruling, grants federal agencies substantial authority in formulating rules and regulations. The case, Relentless Inc. v U.S. Department of Commerce, represents a crucial juncture for Rhode Island fishermen who, along with those in the Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo case, are fervently contesting a federal rule that mandates them to bear the financial burden of federal observers on their boats. >>click to read<< 12:23

Anti-Wind Farm Group Sues R.I. Coastal Agency Over Revolution Wind Approval

Green Oceans, the Rhode Island citizens group that fiercely opposes offshore wind farms, is in the midst of a civil lawsuit it has filed against the state Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), claiming the council violated the constitution, state regulations, and its own responsibilities when it approved the Revolution Wind farm in May. The lawsuit, being heard in Newport Superior Court, asks the court to vacate the CRMC’s decision, which, in effect, declared that the wind farm conforms to the state’s Ocean Special Area Management Plan (SAMP), provided that the developer, Revolution Wind LLC, takes some agreed-upon mitigating actions. Attorneys for the CRMC fired back, stating that private citizens have no legal standing to bring such a suit, that Green Oceans has not suffered injury because of the CRMC action, that the complaint was filed past deadline, and that Green Oceans was taking the action without an attorney, which is not allowed. >>click to read<< 11:02

Rhode Island fishermen fear offshore wind farm project could jeopardize thriving squid industry

On the coast of Narragansett lies the pulse of the Rhode Island fishing industry. Dozens of boats travel to sea multiple times a day to reel in fish, which are then brought back to shore to be processed at fish houses and packaged for sale. Squid dominates the fishing industry in Rhode Island, but a group of fishermen worry a major wind farm project will put everything they work for at risk. The concerns prompted SeaFreeze to file a federal lawsuit in 2021 to stop the project, which will place 62 turbines off Martha’s Vineyard to power 400,000 homes. Construction is already well underway and by the end of the year, the installation could produce up to 300 megawatts of power. Video, photos, >>click to read<< 07:53

RI fishermen’s board resigns en masse over Biden admin-backed offshore wind farm: ‘Wholesale ocean destruction’

A plan backed by the Biden administration to OK a string of wind farms off Rhode Island has prompted every member of a fishing regulatory board in the state to resign. The entire Rhode Island Fisherman’s Advisory Board quit en masse Friday to protest the 84-turbine Sunrise Wind project after the state’s Coastal Resources Management Council approved the third offshore wind farm in two years off the Ocean State’s waters. The project falls under President Biden‘s executive order authorizing his Interior Department to double US offshore wind capacity by 2030. With the project’s approval, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is on track to finish reviews for 16 wind farms by 2025. But foes including the fishing board say the Sunrise plan ignores environmental regulations and anglers’ concerns Video, >>click to read<<   17:54

This board advises the state on offshore wind’s impacts on fisheries. They all just resigned.

All the members of the panel that advises state coastal regulators on the impacts of offshore wind on fisheries have resigned in protest of what they charge is a process that unfairly favors developers. A resignation letter signed by the nine members of the Fishermen’s Advisory Board was sent to the Coastal Resources Management Council Thursday night.  “It has become abundantly clear that the Rhode Island CRMC has made deference to offshore wind developers its top priority regardless of the requirements of the Ocean SAMP, the cost to the environment, or the impacts to Rhode Island’s fishing industry,” they wrote, referring to the Ocean Special Area Management Plan, the state document that guides offshore wind permitting. >>click to read<< 07:47

Offshore wind projects may be cancelled in NJ, according to report

Already facing a series of lawsuits and opposition from state and local officials, Danish wind power developer Orsted is reporting huge financial losses. Those losses, company officials warned, could reach $2.3 billion in the U.S and may force the cancellation of projects of the New Jersey coast. In a conference call with investors, Orsted CEO Mads Nipper told them, “If the walk-away scenario is the economical, rational decision for us, then this remains a real scenario for us.” Orsted is considering “walking away” from or cancelling projects in New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Maryland. >>click to read<< 08:48

CT, RI wind farm gets federal decision on environmental plan

One of Connecticut’s first two wind farms reached a major milestone on Tuesday, with the Bureau of Ocean Energy issuing a “record of decision” in the environmental review process for Revolution Wind, a prerequisite clearing the way for construction in the coming weeks. Revolution Wind will be located 15 miles off Point Judith, R.I., with partners Orsted and Eversource planning to sell the electricity generated by wind turbines to Connecticut and Rhode Island. That construction activity includes crews conducting multiple test pits near along the Quonset Business Park in North Kingstown, R.I., and at the substation where power from the wind farm will be brought ashore, and then converted for use on the regional electric grid. >click to read< 16:06

Fishermen, activists protesting offshore wind projects on the East Coast

Critics are sounding the alarm on the ecological consequences of the Biden administration’s green energy agenda, specifically the increase marine wildlife deaths in conjunction with offshore wind farms. Activists along with local fishermen are particularly concerned about the rise in whale and dolphin beaching. “What we’re seeing is a failure to properly manage the situation,” Rhode Island fisherman Chris Brown said. “The whales have been migrating from their southern stations during the spring up through the mid-Atlantic region, and they didn’t even slow down the acoustic carpet bombing. And as a result, the Atlantic was littered with the dead whales and dolphins and sharks. There doesn’t seem to be any environmental concern. This is a manmade environmental disaster that’s unfolding. I expect that it will half a whale population in 10 years and probably the same for our fish.”Video, photos, >click to read< 19:17

Narragansett’s Charles J. Wolf, Featured on Discovery Channel Series Lobster Wars, has passed away

We sadly said goodbye to Narragansett surfcaster and owner of Surf Ninja Customs, Charles J Wolf (Lepre). Born February 13, 1979, in Warwick, RI. Charlie passed due to complications from a heart condition, on Thursday, June 29, 2023, at the age of 44.  Charlie was surrounded by his family, at Hope Hospice Center in Providence, RI. As a senior at Narragansett High School, he joined the Pt Judith commercial fishing fleet. He worked on lobster boats, scallopers and everything else that fished our waters. That same year, he was offered the captain seat of the inshore Lobster Boat the Jeanie, owned and operated by Thomas Ditmar. Tom became a mentor to Charlie, teaching him the ins and outs of operating and maintaining a fishing vessel. During his career, he was featured on the Discovery Channel series Lobster Wars. At that time, he was a deckhand on The Dragon Lady, an offshore Lobster Boat out of Pt Judith. Charlie spent over 20 years in the commercial fishing industry earning a reputation as a skilled and worthy deckhand and shipmate, becoming a brother to many. >click to read< 10:43

RI Energy rejects plan for nearly 1000MW offshore wind project

Rhode Island Energy, formerly known as National Grid Rhode Island, announced Tuesday it’s ending a long-term power purchase agreement proposal with offshore wind companies Orsted and Eversource. The plan would have allowed the energy group to move forward with a plan to create 600 to 1,000 megawatts of offshore wind generation as part of a project dubbed Revolution Wind 2. “The economic development benefits included in the proposal were weighted and valued appropriately by our evaluation team, but ultimately it was determined those features did not outweigh the affordability concerns and other [state law] standards,” Rhode Island Energy president Dave Bonenberger said in a statement. >click to read< 16:38

Energy industry uses whale activists to aid anti-wind farm strategy, experts say

One night in late March, J Timmons Roberts, a professor of environmental studies at Brown University, stepped in to a high school gymnasium in a small seaside town in Rhode Island. He was there to speak at a town hall aimed at allaying concerns about a local offshore windfarm. In the front row, he noticed a woman dressed as a whale, holding a sign that read “Save Me!” The woman in the front row was Mary Chalke, co-founder of the Save Right Whales Coalition (SRWC), a group of organizations across the east coast that oppose offshore wind projects, arguing they pose an existential risk to the endangered North American right whale. That night at the town hall, Roberts also spotted Elizabeth Knight, who founded Green Oceans earlier this year, another anti-wind organization in Rhode Island. Roberts said he felt compassion for Knight. “She thinks a train wreck is coming,” said Roberts. >click to read< 10:17

Rhode Island puts pause on key part of offshore wind project

State regulators have hit the pause button on permitting for a transmission line that would run up the Sakonnet River from SouthCoast Wind’s large offshore wind farm proposed in ocean waters south of Martha’s Vineyard. The Rhode Island Energy Facility Siting Board voted unanimously on Thursday to stay the application process for the cable that SouthCoast Wind needs to deliver electricity to the mainland grid from its proposed $5-billion project that would power more than a million homes. The three-member board made the decision in response to the company’s decision to terminate a set of long-term contracts it signed to sell power to Massachusetts utilities. >click to read< 10:21

Fishing boat catches fire at Narragansett dock

Crews responded to a massive fire on a commercial fishing boat docked at the Port of Galilee Sunday night. Fire officials say they responded to the docks near State St. around 6 p.m. Saturday to find a fully involved boat fire with flames extending to the docks. “We had been working on it the last couple days, trying to get it ready for commercial fishing,” said Scott Babcock. “I don’t know if the boat is going to be fixable or not,” he continued. Babcock says the boat, the Louis Virginia, is named after his mom. He says his family has owned the boat for around 10 years. Video, photo, >click to read< 07:15

State engineer accuses SouthCoast Wind of lying to RI agencies. What the email says.

David Ciochetto, an ocean engineer with the state Coastal Resources Management Council, said the joint venture between Shell and Ocean Winds made false statements about its offshore wind project in written testimony to the Rhode Island Energy Facility Siting Board before a hearing last month. In an email to the coordinator of the siting board, Ciochetto said that, contrary to what SouthCoast Wind testified, an application that the company filed with the CRMC is incomplete and not under review. In addition, said Ciochetto, the company misrepresented the status of communications with a fishing board that advises the coastal council on the impacts of offshore wind development on commercial and recreational fishermen. SouthCoast Wind has not met with the Fisherman’s Advisory Board or experts that work with the board, said Ciochetto, who argued that the misleading statements are part of a larger pattern with the company. >click to read< 08:25

Rhode Island’s commercial fishing industry, by the numbers

The calamari comeback is going strong, while lobsters lag and flounders flounder. That’s according to a new Department of Environmental Management report on the fishing industry last year. In 2022, the overall value of commercial fishing landings in Rhode Island was $100.6 million. That’s about 10 percent lower than 2021 when you account for inflation. The drop is discouraging, but there’s a lot that plays into seafood landings annually, including biological, fisheries management, and economic factors, according to Conor McManus, chief of DEM’s Division of Marine Fisheries. The full DEM report also takes a look at recreational fishing, but for today, we’ll stick with a seafood sampler of data about the commercial fishing industry. >click to read< 08:23

‘No one knows what the risks are,’ say New England fishermen about pending offshore wind farm project

In early May, Revolution Wind’s co-developers, Ørsted and Eversource, welcomed Rhode Island Governor Daniel McKee and other officials at the Port of Providence to celebrate the start of turbine component fabrication. McKee lauded the “the jobs of the 21st century and beyond” created by the project and added that Rhode Island was “lucky to be at the forefront of this revolution,” referring to the generation of clean energy, which helps the nation meet its climate goals and positions the state as a base for offshore wind development. But not everyone was celebrating. Commercial fishermen in the area remain deeply frustrated by the uncertainty of how the turbines will impact their productivity and the long-term impacts they will have on the ecosystem they count on. It leads to a compelling question: Can offshore wind and fisheries co-exist? >click to read< 13:55

NC joins pact to cover offshore wind farm related fisheries losses

North Carolina has joined nearly a dozen other East Coast states to create a financial compensation program that would cover economic losses within the fisheries industry caused by Atlantic offshore wind development. The Fisheries Mitigation Project aims to establish a regional administrator to oversee the process of reviewing claims and making payouts collected through a fund paid for by wind developers to commercial and for-hire recreational fisheries industries to mitigate financial loss associated with offshore wind farms. The goal first and foremost of the states is to ensure wind energy areas and the cable systems that will run from wind farms to land are developed in way that would result in minimal impacts to the fisheries industry. >click to read< 10:22

North Carolina Joins Effort to Establish Regional Fisheries Mitigation for Offshore Wind Development

Governor Roy Cooper announced that North Carolina has joined other Atlantic Coast states involved with the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind on a coordinated project to support fisheries mitigation in the development of offshore wind along the East Coast. “It is important that we work to meet our state’s offshore wind energy goals while still protecting our marine fishery industry,” said Governor Cooper. “We are committed to collaborating with other states in this effort to make sure we achieve both goals.” Currently, the Initiative is focused on establishing a framework to compensate commercial and for-hire fishermen in the event of economic impact related to offshore wind development. The goal is to develop a regional approach for administration of any financial compensation paid by developers. Economic impacts from coastal fishing in North Carolina top $4.5 billion annually. >click to read< 08:26

R.I. fishermen threaten legal action over South Fork wind farm

A group of fishermen in Rhode Island is threatening to sue the state’s coastal agency, the federal government, and developer Ørsted over the under-development of the South Fork wind farm in federal waters off Rhode Island. The Fishermen’s Advisory Board and the individual fishers it represents said in a letter Wednesday that the deal to approve the South Fork wind farm did not adequately compensate them for their losses. Making matters worse, they say, a fishing vessel working on the project broadcast over a radio channel used for emergency and distress calls in April that nobody was allowed within a mile and a half of either side of recent work to construct the project’s cable. >click to read< 07:46

Revolution Wind offshore wind farm project clears CRMC hurdle. What’s next for the project?

The vote by the Coastal Resource Management Council moved Revolution Wind one step closer to becoming the third utility-scale offshore wind farm to be cleared for construction in America. The vote came despite objections from fishermen, who say the project and others like it will shut them out of fishing grounds and cause economic losses in their industry. Not all in the fishing industry are against the project. David Yerman, a Connecticut fisherman whose firm is employed by Ørsted and Eversource, said those in the industry can work with offshore wind developers. “Offshore wind development is not a threat to commercial fishing,” he said. “It is an opportunity.” But every other person from the fishing industry that spoke voiced opposition to the application.  >click to read< 09:49

FI School Students meet Point Judith Fishing Fleet

The students started their visit at the Superior Trawl net loft where they learned how large fishing nets are made and designed. Owner Jon Knight had a 1/3 scale model of a squid net to demonstrate and then discussed how all nets are specialized based on particular species of fish being sourced. All the students were shown how to tie a bowline knot, and then practiced throwing dock lines to a simulated dock piling. Thank you, John, Cindy, and Barry for this experience! One of the highlights of visiting the net loft was that students as a group were able to crawl through the length of a full-size trawl net just like fish! Lots of photos of happy people. >click to read< 08:47

Fewer turbines but more conflict for Revolution Wind farm

The fishing industry and offshore wind developers are again at odds over how a mammoth array of 80-story-high wind turbines will affect ocean species, and the fishermen whose livelihoods depend on them. And without consensus on the potential damage, the two sides also can’t agree on what measures – including money – are enough to offset the harm caused by the Revolution Wind project. Even a 33% cut to the number of wind turbines – from 100 to 65 – negotiated by state coastal regulators hasn’t done much to reduce conflict. Developers Orsted A/S and Eversource Energy LLC have agreed to pay $12.9 million, to commercial and charter boat fishermen to offset potential revenue losses caused by the noise, electromagnetic field waves, boulder moving and other disturbances that the towers and undersea cables cause to the delicate underwater ecosystem. >click to read< 08:46