Fishermen fighting the inevitable

Offshore wind is here and will multiply off Rhode Island’s coast, with or without the participation of local commercial fishing interests.

That’s why it was disheartening to see the mass resignation of a nine-member advisory board of fishermen set up to look out for their industry’s interests.

Fishermen naturally want to see as few negative effects on fish stocks and marine habitats as possible and the state has a shared interest in protecting a still-valuable and productive industry. But the state and its residents have at least an equal interest in developing affordable renewable energy sources. The fishermen were given an opportunity to add their collective voice to how those potentially competing interests are balanced but instead have chosen to try to stop the process by not participating.

It’s a Hail Mary pass that may add yet more delays but won’t stop the wind industry’s inevitable offshore growth.

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And no one wins if fishermen exclude themselves from how this promising but potentially destructive industry develops here.

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