MOU to Advance Wind Energy Cannot Be at Expense of Fishing Industry
December 6, 2023 – FFAW-Unifor is dismayed at today’s news from the provincial and federal governments announcing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aimed at expediting the development of wind energy in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Union is calling for a clear commitment from the Provincial Government that priority will be given during the regulatory process to consult with affected industries, in particular the fishing industry, and asks for clarifications on other issues.
“Previously, the jurisdiction of offshore and nearshore energy developments has been unclear, so today’s announcement does provide a clearer path for regulation. However, the Union is concerned that the MOU fails to clarify the government’s commitment to engage with primary ocean users and not rush through regulatory processes,” says FFAW-Unifor President Greg Pretty. “Words like ‘expedite’ are cause for concern to fish harvesters who rely on the long-term health and sustainability of our marine environment,’ he says.
“Commercial fish harvesters, and lobster harvesters in particular for proposed nearshore and onshore developments, could be significantly impacted by future developments of wind energy farms. These industrial projects have the potential to not just take away prized square footage of ocean area, they also have impacts through dredging, refuse run-off, and underwater sound disturbance. All of this has the potential to negatively influence the long-term health of valuable commercial species such lobster, snow crab, halibut, cod, capelin and more,” Pretty warns.
FFAW-Unifor is concerned that today’s announcement will rush the consultation process without ensuring affected industries are given due consideration. However, the Union remains committed to engaging companies in all proposed developments to ensure harvesters’ views and concerns are brought forth and valued during the regulatory process.
“Our Union is certainly not against new industries, or against the development of renewable energies, but we will continue to make the voices of our members heard loud and clear when any new development results in losses for FFAW members. We hope that Premier Furey would agree that new industries cannot come at the expense of another,” Pretty concludes.