Assessing Impacts of the Block Island Wind Farm on Recreational Saltwater Fishing (2017-2019)

Principal InvestigatorDavid Bidwell (URI Marine Affairs)

CollaboratorsTiffany Smythe (CRC), Tracey Dalton (URI Marine Affairs), Julia Livermore (RI DEM), David Beutel (CRMC)

Funding Source: Rhode Island Sea Grant

The 30-MW, 5-turbine Block Island Wind Farm (BIWF) has received a great deal of attention as the first operational offshore wind energy project in the U.S. and is expected by many to kick start a broader development of the technology off the Atlantic coast. This study will investigate recreational fishing around the BIWF with the goal of improving understanding of the local, statewide, and regional socio-economic impacts of the BIWF on the angling activities of both Rhode Islanders and tourists. It will achieve this through an iterative, mixed-methods research approach, involving qualitative interviews of key stakeholders, representative quantitative surveys of saltwater anglers, and a legal analysis.

The overriding research question guiding this study is: How is the BIWF affecting the experience of recreational saltwater angling in Rhode Island? The primary goal of this project is to provide information that is useful for resource managers, the recreational fishing community, and other stakeholders in management of the BIWF and planning for future offshore wind energy developments.