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August 20, 2007

Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership launches public education campaign challenging Cape Wind’s claims of ‘no harm’ to fishery in Nantucket Sound

New England TV advertising campaign features local fisherman

August 20, 2007, GLOUCESTER, MA -  The state’s largest commercial fishing organization is publicly challenging assertions by the developer of the Cape Wind project that their offshore wind energy project will actually improve fishing in Nantucket Sound.

The Massachusetts Fishermen's Partnership (MFP), which is comprised of 18 commercial fishing organizations, decided to take its message to the airwaves in a TV commercial now appearing on several channels, said Executive Director David Bergeron, “because the public needs to know that sustainable commercial fishing would be impacted and displaced” by the Cape Wind development project on Horseshoe Shoal. The commercial features a fisherman who has worked the shoal for years and is convinced that he and many others would suffer major financial losses if the wind farm were erected there.

“Fishermen who catch squid, fluke and other seafood on Horseshoe Shoal in a sustainable manner during warmer weather months are going to be impacted,” Bergeron said. “With growing realization that eating all-natural seafood is very beneficial to good health, it is vital to safeguard local fisheries like that on Horseshoe Shoal,” Bergeron said. There is no reason to displace a sustainable and productive fishery when other sites are available for an offshore wind farm that would not do the harm. “The impression that a choice is required between commercial fishing and offshore wind energy is false and needs to be corrected,” he said.

 “Commercial mobile gear fishermen earn about $1 million annually where Cape Wind wants to build its wind farm on Horseshoe Shoal,” said Bergeron. “This fishery is a poster child for conservation, providing healthy seafood with low impact on the ecosystem. There is no reason to threaten a sustainable fishery when alternative sites are available.”

The notion that fishing vessels can haul mobile gear between wind towers is not practical and unsafe. Fish do not swim in straight lines and surprises from weather and capricious currents are not uncommon in the Sound. A wind farm on Horseshoe Shoal would essentially make the area unproductive to these fishermen.

The TV advertising campaign was supported by the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, which has actively worked against the current location of the proposed Cape Wind project.

Bergeron concluded, “Cape Wind is the first significant offshore wind energy development, and as a precedent it is very important to get it right for fisheries and the environment.”

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