KA Alexander, TA Wilding, JJ Heymans – Marine Policy, May 2012
Development of the offshore renewable energy sector will have implications for the fishing industry by limiting access and navigation, and potential impacts (both positive and negative) upon commercially fished species. Fishers’ attitudes and behaviour have been found to influence the success of fishery management measures, compliance with regulations, and Marine Protected Areas; suggesting they may also affect offshore renewable energy developments. A postal survey was conducted to investigate fishers’ attitudes towards offshore energy extraction and any influential factors in terms of fishing experience and practice, association membership, location, and knowledge of offshore renewable energy installations. The most important factor influencing fishers’ opinions was whether they knew of a nearby offshore development, followed by location (whether they operate from the mainland or the islands); and despite concerns regarding the perceived impacts and mitigation the majority of fishers held either neutral or positive attitudes towards offshore renewable energy extraction.