Expressing Concerns: The Development of Wave Energy on the North Coast

    The purpose of the proposed PG&E Humboldt WaveConnect™ Pilot Project is to test different wave energy technologies and to further study the development of wave energy.  Although this project could result in a new source of energy for our coastal community, I do have certain concerns with the overall project.  The major concern I have is that my dad is a local commercial fisherman and has been for the past thirty-five years, and because of my family’s background in the fishing industry, there may be impacts that this wave energy project could potentially create for my dad’s career.

Some of the issues that I worry about effecting my family’s business is the interference of these devices.  My concern is that these structures may be placed in the areas where my dad fishes for crab and salmon. Other huge concerns that I have for the fishing community includes safety issues, which may arise from placing these large devices within the fishing grounds, an overall loss of fishing grounds, and gear entanglement, that may frequently occur because of storm events when strong winds and currents move the gear around.  Gear entanglement is a big issue because if the gear was to get entangled in the devices’ anchor or cable systems, then the local fishermen may not be able to retrieve their gear.  To solve this problem, PG&E should take these concerns into consideration and make plans to place the wave energy project as far north and away from the bay entrance as possible; thus, allowing fishermen to continue on with their jobs without having to obey to even more regulations than they already do.

In addition, besides the concerns I have for my own family’s business, I also have concerns for locals, beach goers, and ocean life, especially crab.  As for the residents of this area, I would want to see that this project uses as much local labor force as possible.  In doing so, this will help to increase the local employment and economy.  Moreover, I would like to see that the concerns of other locals are met and the impacts to those who live near shorelines are addressed.  Furthermore, there should be studies done on ocean life to analyze any harm that this project may cause, such as electrical escapement, to crab, fish, and other organisms.

Kristen Pinto

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