The Martha's Vineyard/Dukes County Fishermen's Association (MVDCFA) and Jonathan Mayhew have dropped their federal lawsuit against Cape Wind.
Cape Wind and the MVDCFA have agreed to work together to establish a Martha's Vineyard permit bank that will enable the purchase of commercial fishing permits for the use of local commercial fishermen.
The MVDCA, an organization dedicated to representing the interests of commercial fishermen on Martha's Vineyard and preserving fishing opportunities for the future, revealed it had spent $100,000 in legal fees in the two years since it brought the lawsuit.
‘We are glad to have found common ground,’ explained Warren Doty, president of the MVDCFA, during a teleconference with Cape Wind spokesperson Mark Rodgers. ‘We can work together to make Cape Wind's sustainable energy and a sustainable local fishery both happen.’
The three plaintiffs had filed a federal lawsuit in 2010 arguing that Cape Wind would require fishing boats to add crew members to monitor the turbines, thus, restricting the ability of fishermen to access to Horseshoe Shoal during construction of the wind project.
Cape Wind says it will also work to make sure Horseshoe Shoal remains open to fishing activities.
Another point of contention had to do with the laying of the undersea cables, Doty said.
‘We had quite a few discussions about fishing over the cables,’ he said, adding that the group had expressed concern over the six- to eight-foot burial depth of the wind farm's cables, fearing the cables might become exposed over time.
The settlement includes support from Cape Wind for a trust to buy permits to lease out to young fishermen on the island, Dotty said. Dotty and Rodgers declined to comment on how much money is included in the settlement.
This is not the first time that Cape Wind has flipped a foe into a supporter, however.
In March 2011, Hy-Line Cruises said it would partner with Cape Wind for a new Eco Tour and Visitor Center allowing residents and tourists to take a ferry out to Cape Wind's proposed 130-turbine wind farm in Massachusetts. The company had initially objected to the Cape Wind project, citing navigational and public-safety issues.