Gulf of Maine and Floating Offshore Wind Don’t Mix.

For the last two years or so, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has been working towards a commercial offshore wind lease sale in the Gulf of Maine. We have had concerns. This past spring, BOEM released a Draft Call Area, opening a public comment period. The ASGA team took a lot of time and thought to comment on the Call Area and floating offshore wind development in general. Currently, BOEM is looking at nearly all of the Gulf of Maine to develop future lease(s); if final leases are selected, they will be smaller than the Call Area pictured below. Additionally, based on the Gulf of Maine’s depths, floating offshore wind structures will be used. This is a new, poorly understood, and highly concerning type of technology. The bottom line is that ASGA strongly opposes this proposal. . The world knows almost nothing about floating wind. We do not want the Gulf of Maine to be the proverbial guinea pig. The Gulf of Maine is pretty much one big Essential Fish Habitat area that has incredible ecological, economic, and cultural value. This development would absolutely be bad for all fishermen and the resource. If you want to do a deep dive into this issue, you can see our full comments here.

BOEM is currently working to further refine final lease identification, but upcoming in-person meetings with fisheries stakeholders will provide important information about which regions BOEM should avoid.

More importantly and extremely time sensitive, BOEM, in conjunction with Gulf of Maine states, announced several meetings to solicit input from fishing communities on potential offshore wind lease areas to inform a spatial modeling effort, which the agency hopes to use for final lease identification. It is critical that fishermen attend these meetings. It is even more critical that we provide coherent and science-based comments from our community. Due to poor recreational data resolution, BOEM often does not have a remotely adequate understanding of when, where, or why anglers fish. For example, we can look to the poor decisions BOEM made in identifying and approving commercial leases near and on top of Coxes Ledge. If you can attend one of the meetings, any input you can share about specific areas in the Gulf of Maine will help. Poor data going into these processes produces poor results. Please, be the smart person in the room. This is the perfect time to show BOEM that recreational anglers have a voice that needs to be heard. Be polite and respectful as our advocates always are in these arenas. Be a force for good and maybe we can push back enough to get this process shelved. 

Here’s the schedule.  

Portland, Maine

  • Date & Time: Monday, July 24, 2023, 5:30 pm – 8 pm
  • Meeting Location: University of Southern Maine (USM)- Portland Campus, Wishcamper Center #102, 34 Bedford St, Portland, ME
  • Registration:

Ellsworth, Maine

  • Date & Time: Tuesday, July 25, 2023, 5:30 pm – 8 pm
  • Meeting Location: Downeast Family YMCA, Moore Center; 125 State Street, Ellsworth, ME
  • Registration:

Rockport, Maine

  • Date & Time: Wednesday, July 26, 2023, 5:30 pm – 8 pm
  • Meeting Location: The Farmstead on Richards Hill; 399 Commercial Street, Rockport, ME
  • Registration:

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

  • Date & Time: Thursday, July 27, 2023, 5:30 pm – 8 pm
  • Meeting Location: New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, 222 International Drive, Suite 175, Portsmouth, NH
  • Registration:

Plymouth, Massachusetts

  • Date & Time: Thursday, July 27, 2023, 5:30 pm – 8 pm
  • Meeting Location: Plymouth North High School Cafeteria; 41 Obery St, Plymouth, MA
  • Registration:

Virtual Meeting For Massachusetts Fishing Community

  • Date & Time: Monday, July 31, 2023, 5:30 pm – 8 pm
  • Meeting Location: Virtual
  • Registration: ZOOM Registration Link

If you can make any of these meetings, it would be a big help.

Our team at ASGA put together the information below to use as a guideline/cheat sheet:

Gulf of Maine Floating Offshore Wind Meeting Information

July 2023


  • Offshore wind development is relatively new industry in the United States. However, commercial interest and permitting has ramped up substantially in the last decade, often challenging stakeholder input and outpacing scientific efforts.

  • The Gulf of Maine is an incredibly productive region for fisheries and marine ecosystems. Due to its depths, however, floating offshore wind turbines will be the predominant technology used if leases and projects are approved, compared to the traditional 

  • In late 2021 and early 2022, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM, the agency responsible for U.S. Outer Continental Shelf energy and mineral development) indicated the Gulf of Maine would be subject to a commercial lease sale by 2024—later a Planning Area was published to gauge interest from developers and to better understand which areas to avoid due to conflicts with other ocean users (commercial and recreational fisheries, complex habitats, marine traffic, Department of Defense, etc.). 

  • Also in 2021, Maine Governor Janet Mills signed a law, authorizing a 12-or-fewer turbine, 15.2 square mile, floating wind research array. The goal of this research array is to better understand the impacts and utility of this very new technology (globally and in US waters). 

  • Earlier this spring (2023), BOEM announced the Gulf of Maine Call Area, to solicit further input—some areas were removed from the 2022 planning area, and final leases will be substantially reduced. ASGA commented on the Call Area and remains extremely concerned about commercial floating offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine. 

ASGA Messaging: 

  • Offshore wind development in the US is occurring at a breakneck pace and challenging scientific communities and the public from understanding what the real impacts may be. If this industry is to responsibly progress, understanding it is a major priority of the current administration, it must be based on the best available science and all ecosystem impacts must be understood and avoided, minimized, or mitigated. We are not clear this process is happening due to the speed of permitting and development. 

  • Floating offshore wind is a relatively new and rapidly evolving technology. There are several floating offshore wind projects elsewhere in the world, but this industry is expected to rapidly increase in the near future, and the United States wants to be an industry leader. 

  • ASGA maintains our position that the Gulf of Maine is no place to test this new technology, because of its many uncertainties and the ecological, cultural, and economic productivity of this region. 

  • BOEM is advancing the Gulf of Maine commercial leasing process when key questions remain unanswered: will anglers and boaters be able to navigate in and through potential floating wind leases, how will these structures be secured to the seabed, have the benthic habitats in the Gulf of Maine been thoroughly mapped and avoided, will the use of different electricity transmission have different ecological impacts, is this technology even feasible? These are just some of our concerns—see our official comment letter for more. 

  • ASGA is concerned about the different impacts of floating offshore wind vs. traditional, stationary offshore wind, but we understand the utility of the State of Maine’s floating offshore wind research array, which will help understand this new technology and inform industry standards. However, BOEM is choosing to ignore the potential utility of the research array, and advance commercial leasing and development in the Gulf of Maine. 

  • This is completely irrational, and ASGA strongly opposes the speed at which BOEM is advancing floating offshore wind in the Gulf of Maine. 

If you have any questions, we are here to help–drop a comment or send us an email. This is our chance as the angling community to have our voice heard on this ill-conceived project.  

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