Head of fishermen’s alliance upset with Vineyard Wind plan

South County

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (WPRI) — In Rhode Island, calamari is king.

“We have something precious and something that we boast about,” Richard Fuka, President of the Rhode Island Fishermen’s Alliance said.

But the Richard Fuka fears the entire industry is now at risk.

Vineyard Wind wants to build an 84 turbine offshore wind farm, fifteen miles from the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, and right in the heart of squid ground.

“It will chase pretty much every species out of that area which is an extremely large area,” Fuka said.

On Saturday, the Fisheries Advisory Board voted unanimously to move forward with the project, accepting a nearly 17-million dollar compensation package from Vineyard Wind.

That money would be aimed at mitigating any negative impacts the project would have on the fishing industry. But Fuka says the majority of the state’s fishermen do not support the deal and are not represented on the advisory board.

“Nobody from those three fish houses is on that board,” Fuka said.

Rhode Island’s Coastal Resources Management Council is now set to vote on the project on Tuesday. 

Fuka hopes they stop it from moving forward as is.  He says the wind farm and fishing industries can coexist, but this location would disrupt the squid population in an irreversible and detrimental way.

“We can get it right. We can’t kill our squid industry.  It’s all we have,” Fuka said.

In a statement, Vineyard Wind representatives said the compensation fund will ensure fishermen can safely operate and grow side by side with the project.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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