ADVICE FOR FISHERS
As many of you are aware, Offshore Windfarms have been declared for the Hunter region and is now being proposed for the Illawarra region.
The PFA has advised stakeholders that we are a “relevant person” for their environmental planning and consultation processes, but there are some energy companies that would prefer to avoid dealing with an industry body. They prefer to deal with individuals as they are able to push forward approvals and consultation angles.
Let us be clear – the proposals will have an impact on our fisheries, especially due to the electromagnetic currents generated by the cables impacting on species behaviours and activities, the construction disruptions and loss of access. In addition, the windfarms should NOT be promoted as Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs). Industry experiences in the northern hemisphere have demonstrated that, in some regions, windfarms were promoted as FADs to local fishers and access was promised. However, after time these permissions were cancelled due to sudden issues with maritime safety and insurance concerns. Resulting in expanded loss of access for fishers after licences issued.
It is understood that some energy companies have ignored the PFA’s and the local Commercial Fishermen’s Cooperative request that all consultation with fishers should either involve or be coordinated by ourselves. Some company representatives are going directly to fishers for information and their fishing coordinates. We strongly advise NOT to provide this information. The objectives of these companies are to argue that their Windfarms are not disruptive or that the disruption can be minimised in order to gain license approvals, not about taking care of the industry.
If you are approached direct from energy companies, we recommend you respond by stating – Thank you for your contact/ correspondence but please direct your consultation through to the Professional Fishers Association as our representatives and remove our company from your contact list.
When developing a response, we incorporate all your comments, and provide a frank and fearless report to protect your assets. We are also very conscious that there are many environmental plans and proposals, and the constant emails can get annoying. If you decide you want to opt out of the consultation process, please hit unsubscribe at the bottom of the email. If at any stage, you would like a copy of an environmental plan submission please let us know and we will send one to you.
If you have any questions regarding how Professional Fishers Association is dealing with energy companies and marine spatial squeeze please call me on 0429 303 371.