Recfishwest calls for clarity on proposed offshore wind energy (OWE) projects’ impacts on the marine environment and fishing

Recfishwest  says the announcement by the Commonwealth Government on the area being proposed for offshore wind farms was disappointingly light on critical details.

The proposal released yesterday has left fishers none the wiser about the likely impact on fishing access, amenity and the environment.

What we do know is :

  • The proposed area that has been earmarked for potential wind farm developments is a 7,674 square kilometre area of ocean with its closest point only 20 km from shore off Cape Naturaliste and Bunbury and 36 km from Busselton.
  • Submissions on the proposed area can be made until 3 May 2024 through the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) consultation hub which also has more information on the proposal.
  • A number of community information sessions on the proposal are being held by DCCEEW from 19 to 21 March in Bunbury, Busselton, Harvey and Mandurah. For details click on the above link.
The proposed area for South-West WA Offshore Wind Energy projects

FIND OUT MORE AND HAVE YOUR SAY ABOUT THE PROPOSAL ON THE COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENT’S INFORMATION HUB

This picture gives you an idea of the scale of the turbines that could be erected in the South-West OWE area if given the green light.

The proposed area could see more than a thousand turbines each the size of a 50-storey building installed in the ocean and connected to the shore through underwater cables and offshore substations.

Recfishwest will be engaging closely with the Commonwealth Government on this and has reiterated that fishing must be considered a key activity when planning any offshore wind energy (OWE) projects.

We will be making a formal submission on the proposal and encourage all recreational fishers to do the same. It is important to ensure your voice is heard because strong community feedback in areas where these zones have been proposed on the East Coast has resulted in changes to the final declared areas for proposed OWE projects.

Recfishwest Operations Manager Leyalnd Campbell said, “From Recfishwest’s perspective we acknowledge the need for renewable energy production and will only support projects that do not compromise the environment or our fishing experiences.

“It is critical that OWE projects avoid important habitats such as spawning and nursery areas for fish as well as popular fishing spots like Naturaliste Reef and the FADs grounds. That’s why much more specific information is needed on the likely impacts to fishing and the environment.

“Similarly, in the more than two years since the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Act 2021 was passed the Commonwealth Government still hasn’t provided clarity on whether there will be exclusion zones around turbines in these OWE zones. This is critical information required to assess the suitability of the proposed area.”

Recfishwest will continue to seek answers to these questions and continue to keep you updated on developments. In the meantime, feel free to contact us if you have any questions on this issue.

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