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Ørsted and Eversource announce partnership with local fishermen

Joint-venture partners Ørsted and Eversource, the companies working with the state on a $235 million overhaul of State Pier in New London, have announced a collaboration with Waterford-based marine services provider Sea Services North America and its partner fishermen in Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York.

Ørsted says the agreement marks the first time an offshore wind developer and a commercial fishing consortium have signed a substantial commercial contract in the history of U.S. offshore wind.

The partnership, Ørsted and Eversource said in a statement, supports scouting and safety work — safe navigation in and around the companies’ planned Northeast offshore wind farms projects, including the 704-megawatt Revolution Wind project serving Rhode Island and Connecticut, the 132-megawatt South Fork Wind serving Long Island and the 924-megawatt Sunrise Wind project serving New York.

“We believe strongly that offshore wind can coexist with all ocean users, including the region’s commercial and recreational fishing fleets,” David Hardy, chief executive officer of Ørsted Offshore North America, said in a statement. “Our expanded collaboration with Sea Services will help us as we strive to achieve that coexistence, with the valuable support from fishermen who know the area’s waters best.”

Sea Services North America was co-founded by Waterford attorney Gordon Videll and Gary Yerman, the founder and owner of New London Seafood Distributors in New London.

Separately, Ørsted also has begun discussions with Sea Services to expand this scope into its Ocean Wind and Skipjack Wind Farms, serving New Jersey and Maryland respectively.

Yerman, who serves as the fleet manager for Sea Services of North America, said the concept is to coordinate with the fishing industry and offshore wind for the benefit of all parties. He said the partnership will give fishing fleets more opportunities for work during slow periods.

“It’s a great concept where they’re using the knowledge of a lot of fishermen who have been working in these areas ... and a chance for the wind farm companies to capitalize on that knowledge,” Yerman said.

Over the last year, Sea Services’ fishermen have provided scouting vessels and monitoring services to assist Revolution Wind’s project research vessels in locating and avoiding fishermen’s gear during pre-construction marine surveys. Some of the work had included fishermen from New London Seafood.

“Our partnership with Ørsted and Eversource not only ensures enhanced safety and protection of the ocean environment, but also will support the region’s economy by creating new jobs and providing an economic opportunity for our fishermen,” Sea Services CEO and co-founder Gordon Videll said in a statement.

“When our vessels and crews are not fishing, we will be providing Ørsted and Eversource with 24/7 monitoring of all designated wind project assets, as well as monitoring and education for vessels traveling in designated areas. As wind farms mature grow, so will opportunities for the Sea Services consortium,” Videll said.

g.smith@theday.com

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