Formed in 2018, the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance (RODA) is a membership-based coalition of fishing industry associations and fishing companies with an interest in improving the compatibility of new offshore development with their businesses. RODA endeavors to coordinate science and policy approaches to managing development of the Outer Continental Shelf in a way that minimizes conflicts with existing and historic fishing.
To do this, RODA seeks to formally engage with NMFS and other entities on collaborative research and monitoring. The organization wants to design and implement with NMFS a new model for a long-term, holistic, and collaborative research program that effectively gathers and incorporates fishery-dependent and independent data and expertise. RODA also seeks to create regional “science panels” in cooperation with NMFS to identify priority research and monitoring needs, prioritize research funding, and provide technical recommendations.
In January, RODA entered into a partnership agreement with Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind to improve communications between the commercial fishing industry and offshore wind energy developers. This first-of-its-kind partnership creates an opportunity for those who fish commercially to provide direct input to the wind energy industry on matters of significant interest to their businesses. “Partnering with Ørsted is a significant step forward as we look to strengthen our ongoing dialogue between commercial fishermen and offshore wind developers,” RODA Executive Director Annie Hawkins said in a press release. “RODA believes that we need to develop solutions for offshore wind energy and commercial fishing to coexist.”
On March 26, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries signed a memorandum of understanding with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and RODA to bring fishing interests together with federal regulators.
Through the 10-year memorandum of understanding, RODA, NOAA Fisheries and BOEM will collaborate on the science and the “process of offshore wind energy development” on the Outer Continental Shelf. “The fishing industry has expressed its concern about the potential impacts of rapid large-scale wind energy development to coastal communities and sustainable fishing practices. This agreement paves a way forward for fishing communities to give meaningful input to federal regulators in determining the future of our ocean resources,” Hawkins said in a release.