Ireland’s Codling Wind Park sets up fisheries fund

EDF’s Teeside wind farm in the UK. (Courtesy: EDF Renewables)

Codling Wind Park is establishing a dedicated €500,000 Fisheries Fund to benefit the fishing industry operating within and around the Codling Bank area of the Irish Sea. The fund will have a €100,000 annual budget to support different initiatives for the next five years.

The fund will support opportunities for both inshore and offshore fishing by fishers associated with the Codling Wind Park. Fishers are being asked to bring forward their own ideas about how the fund should be used. The project’s Fishing Engagement Manager meets regularly with local fishers and will discuss the terms of reference and progress proposals for the fund directly with them.

Codling Wind Park also confirmed it will consider other ideas to support fishers including helping establish a lobster hatchery.  The lobster hatchery would involve raising and releasing young lobsters back into the Irish Sea to increase fishing opportunities in the area. The project is engaging with fishers on this proposal, which would support a sustainable and productive fishery in the area.

Codling Wind Park has also published a Fisheries Charter or code of practice that will guide its engagement with fishers and its care of marine life on the Codling Bank. The Fisheries Charter, which will be the first code of its type between an offshore wind developer and fishers in Ireland, commits Codling Wind Park to sustainable development practices and responsible stewardship of the waters and seabed on the Codling Bank.

“The purpose of this fund is to support initiatives that could be of benefit to fishing communities, rather than benefitting one individual fisher over another. For example, adding value to a fishery, improving port infrastructure, improving safety, or exploring innovation and fishery diversification,” said Scott Sutherland, co-project director of Codling Wind Park.

“We want to hear from the fishers about what they think this fund should be used for,” said Sutherland.

“We are making a commitment to the fishers who use Codling Bank that we want to help them build a sustainable future. We have been engaging with fishers for a long time now on a wide variety of issues. One of the key benefits of this engagement is that we have been able to share with each other our different perspectives and see how the development can and will co-exist with the fishery. We are also very proud to be the first developer in Ireland to publish a Fisheries Charter which commits the project to engaging fairly with fishers, to boosting marine biodiversity and to developing sustainable fishing practices,” said Thomas Gilbert, co-project director.

Codling Wind Park, a 50/50 joint venture between Fred. Olsen Seawind and EDF Renewables, will be located about 13 to 22 km off the Co. Wicklow coast between Greystones and Wicklow Town. When operational, it will generate up to 1,450 megawatts (MW), enough electricity to power up to 1.2 million homes and support Ireland’s 2030 offshore wind targets. The renewable energy project is also examining design options to support biodiversity across the Codling bank. The final design is being completed and will be presented to the public later in the year ahead of the project’s planning application.