North Atlantic Right Whales (NARW) is a critically endangered whale species found along the East Coast, and the Biden administration is looking at the potential conflict between wind turbines and NARW.
In May, the BOEM announced a funding opportunity to fill critical knowledge gaps in the NARW’s acoustic ecology. Some experts, however, claim that it is too late to protect whales since the government has already authorized offshore wind projects. Since no evidence suggests fishermen do any damage to the endangered right whale, local fishermen are accusing the government of being “hypocritical” for virtually regulating them out of business in an attempt to safeguard the animal.
Knowledge gaps in the acoustic behavior of severely endangered NARW have been highlighted as a priority need by the Environmental Studies Program (ESP). Through this collaborative effort, we want to fill in the vast data gaps in call rates for NARW and provide details about the environments in which these sounds are recorded. Acoustics is essential for studying whales and keeping tabs on their whereabouts and antics. Responsible Offshore Development Alliance head Annie Hawkins said the Biden administration is “very late” in asking for this kind of study.
The first phase of Vineyard Wind 1, the first large-scale offshore wind farm in the United States, was finished at the end of last month, marking the beginning of production on at least one significant offshore wind farm project. There will be 62 turbines, with maximum heights of 850 feet and blade lengths of around 350 feet.
The director of Clean Ocean Action said there is a lack of openness, rigorous research, and sound governance in the government’s approach to offshore wind projects. Offshore wind projects are not acceptable for approval because of the area’s excessive size, scope, and magnitude of offshore wind power plant activities.
New England Fishermen’s Stewardship Association (NEFSA) COO Dustin Delano called the government’s slashing of regulations to favor offshore wind “incredibly hypocritical.” He claims that even one right whale fatality is too many and that it is an abomination for the government to hold offshore wind to a lesser standard.