Highlighting the critical connection between early and effective engagement with the fishing industry and successful offshore wind development, EnBW North America today has welcomed long-time fishing advocate Beth Casoni as the company’s fisheries liaison. The company has also announced its new membership in the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance’s (RODA) joint industry task force, devoted to addressing issues of mutual interest to commercial fisheries and offshore wind.
While federal Bureau of Offshore Energy Management (BOEM) rules require offshore wind area leaseholders to employ a fisheries liaison, EnBW North America says it made the decision to retain Casoni before obtaining site control in order to fully engage with the fishing community before project design and development. The company’s immediate attention is on the New York Bight – an area off the coasts of New York and New Jersey, where BOEM is expected to auction wind lease areas in late 2020.
Casoni, a Marshfield, Mass., resident, has worked at the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association since 2007 and has served as its executive director since 2014. Her experience includes serving on the Massachusetts Ocean Advisory Commission, which contributed to the development of the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan. She serves also on the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team and several fisheries and seafood marketing boards, including the New England Marine Fisheries Herring and Habitat Advisory Panel and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Herring Advisory Panel. A fishing community native whose family includes commercial fishermen, Casoni is also a former reserve intermittent police officer with the Cohasset (Massachusetts) Police Department.
“We are thrilled to add Beth Casoni’s deep experience and keen insight into the fishing industry to our team as EnBW North America works toward responsibly developing clean offshore wind energy here in the Northeast,” says EnBW North America’s managing director, Bill White. “At the same time, we’re honored to be the first non-lease-holding company invited to join RODA’s joint industry task force, a coalition focused on improving the compatibility of emerging offshore wind developments with commercial fishing industry businesses.”
“I’m honored to join Bill and the EnBW North America team as fisheries liaison,” Casoni says. “I first met Bill when he co-chaired the Massachusetts Fisheries Working Group on Offshore Wind and know firsthand his respect for the fishing industry. I look forward to engaging with the fishing industry and guiding EnBW North America forward in this vital role.”
Casoni will be EnBW North America’s point of contact with commercial and recreational fishermen, fishing industry representatives, and fishing associations, seeking input from them on offshore wind-related issues and conveying timely information about EnBW North America’s plans. Among other duties, Casoni will inform and develop best management practices and strategies that support the coexistence of offshore wind and fishing.
According to the developer, membership in RODA’s joint industry task force gives EnBW North America a seat at the table to work with an organization designed to provide a unified voice on issues of mutual interest to offshore wind and fishing. Launched last year, RODA is a coalition of fisheries and seafood groups devoted to improving the compatibility of emerging offshore development and businesses associated with the commercial fishing industry.
Annie Hawkins, RODA’s executive director, says, “RODA formed the joint industry task force earlier this year as a special project to bring our members together with the offshore wind energy sector outside of the regulatory environment. As the two industries seek ways to share our ocean and its resources, the task force provides a collaborative and transparent forum to explore ways to collectively minimize risks. We applaud EnBW’s proactive approach to considering fishing concerns and working constructively toward solutions through its participation in this effort.”