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12/13/2019 Sen. Sosnowski announces the Coast Guard will still operate search and rescue missions in wind energy areas
STATE HOUSE — Allaying serious concerns of Rhode Island’s commercial fishermen, Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham) has announced that the United States Coast Guard will continue to conduct its search-and-rescue missions in and near wind farms.

Senator Sosnowski, who chairs the Senate Fisheries Task Force, contacted the Coast Guard and other federal agencies with several concerns over wind energy projects, including safety in and near the zones.

“The wind energy development area will not be a limited rescue zone nor a no-rescue zone,” wrote Capt. Jennifer Williams, acting director of marine Transportation Systems. “The Coast Guard will conduct its search and rescue (SAR) mission in and near wind farms.”

Two other agencies, the U.S. Navy and the Federal Aviation Administration also responded to the task force’s concerns relating to the displacement of vessel traffic, collision risks and radar interference.

“The Coast Guard’s response will be a great relief to Rhode Island’s commercial fishermen,” said Senator Sosnowski. “We have many concerns regarding navigational safety near wind farms, and that was the biggest.”

The Senate Fisheries Task Force was re-established in March, with Senator Sosnowski being named chairwoman. The purposes of the task force are to:
·         Track the status and trends of the fishing industries of Rhode Island;
·         Understand the legal and regulatory mandates imposed on the fishing industry;
·         Provide a forum for individuals and organizations in the fishing community to present ideas and identify challenges facing these communities; and
·         Propose legislative and regulatory recommendations for consideration.

Fisheries policy and regulation have become increasingly complex since the reauthorization of the federal Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act in January 2007, and decision-makers need to better understand the values and business models that make up the Rhode Island fishing community.  Commercial and recreational fishing in Rhode Island are important industries that support not only the vessels and fishermen on the water but also fish markets, ship repair shops, ice houses, marinas, restaurants, grocery stores, and dozens of other shore-side businesses. Rhode Island fishermen and the communities that rely on a vibrant fishing industry have been undergoing a transformation during the past decade, and there are numerous challenges to address in the years ahead.

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903