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‘This could affect us all in a negative way:’ Charter fishing industry concerned with proposed wind turbines

Being a fisherman means caring about the environment more than anyone
Published: Mar. 25, 2022 at 5:50 PM EDT
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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - The debate over wind-powered energy in southeastern North Carolina has been a long one.

The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners previously voted to not allow any type of wind turbine within 24 nautical miles of the coast.

On Wednesday, the Biden administration announced they plan to auction off an area off the coast known as the Carolina Longbay Area.

The area covers over 110,000 acres, and stretches from the North Carolina coast to South Carolina.

The federal government ultimately plans to make that area home to wind turbines that would produce enough energy for half a million homes.

Members with the North Carolina For-Hire Captain’s Association are concerned how these turbines will affect their industry.

“I feel like we’re rushing into it, we’re running towards it,” said President of the Association Captain Cane Faircloth. “It’s like a space race. All these states are trying to rush to see who can get into it the quickest, see who can capitalize the most.”

Faircloth and members of his organization say that they have attended several meetings on the proposed auction of the offshore area.

Their main concern is that these turbines could soon be built in an area that provides their income.

“They’re taking the best possible area we have here off of Brunswick County,” said Faircloth.

The area that is being auctioned, he says, covers multiple reefs and wrecks, where many commercial fishermen in southeastern North Carolina take their charters.

“When these guys are all banded together and vote unanimously against offshore wind, Wilmington East, and what they’ve got going on, that should throw a big flag to the rest of the fishermen,” said Faircloth. “Especially the rest of the recreational fishermen, that this is a huge problem. This could affect us all in a negative way.”

He says for his group, being a fisherman means caring about the environment more than anyone.

“Being a fisherman, I’m an environmentalist, and so are all the members of our group,” Faircloth says. “We care about the ocean, we care about the land here, we care about Mother Nature, and we really care about our community and our state.”

The auction will take place on May 11th.

For more information on the organization, click here.

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