Shetland Fishermen’s Association is warning more work needs to done to understand the potential impact from the installation of windfarms in haddock nursery grounds and saithe spawning sites in region.
The sites host two of the Shetland fishing fleet’s valuable and popular whitefish catches.
It follows Monday's announcement by the Crown Estate Scotland of three Shetland ScotWind projects.
While Shetland fishermen acknowledge the need for more renewable energy, they say displacing displacing a legitimate low carbon fishing activity amounts to "environmental madness."
Fishermen say the impacts of projects that do proceed should be minimized, especially through joined-up cable corridors to protect inshore fisheries and mooring systems so keep turbine anchor lines from taking up less space.
“The impact of these projects on nursery grounds and spawning sites is unknown, and research is urgently needed before productive and pristine fishing grounds are destroyed in this offshore windrush," Shetland Fishermen’s Association Executive Officer Daniel Lawson said.
“These and other wind farm developments will have an impact on ecosystems and therefore on fish stocks and fisheries in the area. Unlike the offshore windfarm sector, fishing relies entirely on the good state of marine ecosystems for its survival."
The association accuses the Scottish government of effectively privatizing areas of the seabed critical to the local economy for the benefit of Irish, Norwegian, French and Spanish multinationals.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said ScotWind projects will usher in a new era in Scotland’s offshore wind industry.
“The importance of accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources, including hydrogen, has been brought into sharp relief by Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and the cost of living crisis," she said.
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