NOAA Fisheries and BOEM have developed a Draft Federal Survey Mitigation Strategy that addresses anticipated impacts of offshore wind energy development on NOAA Fisheries’ scientific surveys. The joint strategy underscores our shared commitment to advance offshore wind energy production responsibly while protecting marine biodiversity and promoting cooperative ocean use.
NOAA Fisheries’ surveys are essential for the sustainable management of our nation’s fisheries, recovery of protected resources, conservation of habitats and ecosystems, and understanding the impacts of climate change. The implementation strategy identifies the essential components of mitigating the impacts of offshore wind energy development on the surveys, as well as actions to accomplish the goals and objectives of mitigation. While this initial strategy focuses on the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, it will serve as a model to address the impacts of offshore wind on NOAA Fisheries surveys nationwide.
“This strategy will help maintain the quality of our surveys and data, while also facilitating the development of offshore wind energy,” said Janet Coit, assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries. “Sustaining our surveys allows NOAA Fisheries to monitor trends with species over time, with the broader goal of understanding marine ecosystems, particularly in the face of a rapidly changing climate.”
Nationally, NOAA Fisheries assesses the status of approximately 450 fishery stocks, 200 marine mammal stocks, and 165 threatened and endangered species (some of which are marine mammals). These assessments rely on more than 50 long-term, standardized surveys, many of which have been ongoing for more than 30 years.
Offshore wind energy development plays an important role in U.S. efforts to combat the climate crisis and build a clean energy economy. The Biden-Harris Administration has set a goal of significantly increasing the nation’s offshore wind energy capacity to 30 gigawatts by 2030.
BOEM is the lead federal agency responsible for offshore energy exploration and development in the United States. NOAA Fisheries is a consulting federal agency.
Read the full Draft Federal Survey Mitigation Implementation Strategy. Two informational webinars will be held on March 29 and 30. See webinar details and registration.