Fishermen in Shetland say they are relieved at the Crown Estate Scotland’s decision not to grant licences to any offshore wind farms powering North Sea oil and gas facilities around the islands.
Energy companies have had other offshore windfarm projects successfully approved under the Scottish Government’s INTOG (Innovation and Targeted Oil & Gas) process – largely intended to cut carbon emissions of offshore oil & gas production facilities – although none has been awarded a license around Shetland.
However, the impact of the 13 approved projects, which will close 1600km2 of the sea east of Aberdeenshire for between 25 and 50 years at least, will still have consequences for the isles’ fishing fleet through the displacement of other vessels – and therefore increased competition for the productive fishing grounds around Shetland.
Shetland Fishermen’s Association executive officer Daniel Lawson said: “It should be a relief to everyone in Shetland that no more of our community’s rich fishing grounds will be given over to the unchecked expansion of offshore wind, given the startling lack of research into the damage that these windfarms could have on fish spawning grounds and shellfish stocks alike.
“Shetland already has three offshore wind developments being planned through the Scottish Government’s separate SCOTWIND process. When it comes to reducing carbon emissions from offshore oil and gas production, we’ve seen simpler and more sensible suggestions from energy companies – who have stated a preference to be powered by cable from Shetland’s multiple onshore renewable energy projects.
“Fish has among the lowest carbon footprints of any foodstuff, so Shetland’s fishing fleet should be protected – and not forced any further from its traditional grounds.”