TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Feb. 24, 2011) -On behalf of the stakeholders committed to restoring and enhancing the fisheries of the Great Lakes, the Committee of Canadian Advisors to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) congratulates the Ontario government on its recent decision to defer development of offshore wind turbine projects until further scientific information is garnered, analyzed, and impacts assessed.
In June 2010, along with our colleagues in the United States, we asked the Ontario government to reexamine their approach to wind turbine development in the Great Lakes, and to their credit, they have done just that (attached please see the Resolution of June 2010).
On behalf of the Committee of Canadian Advisors, Dr. John Casselman of Queen’s University said: “Wind power on water, like water power, is an important energy resource that should not be developed to the detriment of another valuable and renewable resource – fish and fisheries. Considerable knowledge already exists concerning Great Lakes fish populations and fisheries, but not as it pertains to development of offshore wind installations. Prototype small-scale installations need to be specifically and adequately studied before any full-scale development is undertaken.”
Dr. Terry Quinney, Canadian Advisor representing sport fishing, added: “The Great Lakes are home to some of the greatest freshwater fishing in the world. It is vital that as clean renewable energy sources are developed, it is done in a way that protects this world-renowned natural resource and backbone to our region’s economic well-being.”
The Committee, representing recreational and commercial fishing, aboriginal communities, public-at-large, and academia, also reiterates that they would oppose the placement of wind turbines or any other project within the nearshore and offshore areas of the Great Lakes if they are, at any time, shown to harm the Great Lakes fisheries.
The Canadian Committee of Advisors represents First Nation, commercial, recreational, academic, and public fishery interests in the Great Lakes Basin. Canadian advisors provide advice to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission; they are nominated by the Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and appointed by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. http://www.glfc.org/aboutus/brief.php#usadvisors
US and Canadian Advisors to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission
A Resolution to Protect Fish Habitat and Guide Wind Turbine Siting in the Great Lakes
Whereas aquatic bottomlands of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River provide critically important habitat to fish and other aquatic organisms, and
Whereas according to the State of the Lake Ecosystem Conference (SOLEC), 134 of the 139 species of Great Lakes fish use the near shore waters for one or more critical life stages or functions. Coastal margin and near shore areas also have diverse wetland, benthic, and planktonic communities that comprise the lower portion of food web, and
Whereas all Great Lakes bottomlands are held in public trust, and
Whereas the U.S. and Canadian federal, provincial, and state agencies, energy companies, and other businesses are becoming increasingly interested in developing Great Lakes nearshore and offshore wind energy projects, and
Whereas the science of assessing impacts of in-lake structures such as wind turbines requires a combination of predictive methods and reversible pilot projects, and
Whereas the Council of Lake Committees has articulated a serious concern with “virtually no information documenting the short-term and long-term impacts to freshwater ecosystems from wind power development”, and makes specific recommendations to protect the Great Lakes fisheries if wind power development occurs in the Great Lakes.
Therefore be it resolved, as a result of the lack of documentation regarding the impacts to the Great Lakes, the advisors of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission demand a full and adequate environmental assessment on a wind turbine pilot project before the placement of any commercial wind turbines in the lakes, and
Therefore be it further resolved that the advisors of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission demand a full and adequate environmental assessment (that includes but is not limited to, the impact on fish populations, fish habitat, the Great Lakes fisheries, fishing access, and fishing experience) and environmental review with full public engagement in the consideration of each wind development proposal within the Great Lakes, and
Therefore be it further resolved that the advisors to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission endorse the specific recommendations articulated by the Council of Lake Committees (attached statement by CLC), and,
Therefore be it further resolved that the advisors to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission strongly recommends that compensation for any project within of Great Lakes nearshore or offshore should be specifically directed into a fund to be used for monitoring of Great Lakes fisheries impacts from turbines, research, habitat restoration and mitigation, and decommissioning of turbines, and
Therefore be it further resolved that the advisors of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission oppose the placement of wind turbines or any other project within the nearshore and offshore areas of the Great Lakes if they are at any time shown to have a deleterious impact on local and regional fish populations, fish habitat, the Great Lakes fisheries, and fishing access, and fishing experience, and
Therefore be it finally resolved that the advisors of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission call upon the Great Lakes Fishery Commission to adopt this resolution as their own position, and prioritize carrying these recommendations to all appropriate parties.
The Committee of Advisors consists of both U.S. and Canadian representatives, from First Nation, commercial, recreational, academic, agency, and public fishery interests in the Great Lakes Basin. Advisors provide advice to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission; U.S. advisors are nominated by the State Governors, and appointed by the commission. Canadian advisors are nominated by the Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and appointed by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.