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“A Big Fugazi”: Why Fishermen Still Can’t Get Behind Offshore Wind

Dr. Kevin Stokebury, right, and his team on boat Liberty preparing for the last sea scallop survey before Vineyard Wind begins construction. Photo by Nadine Sebai for The Public's Radio

Dr. Kevin Stokebury, right, and his team on boat Liberty preparing for the last sea scallop survey before Vineyard Wind begins construction. Photo by Nadine Sebai for The Public’s Radio

In Ken Schneider’s 40-year fishing career, he’s fished for pretty much everything that’s out in the Mid-Atlantic.

Now, at 60 years old, Schneider spends most of his time hunting for lobster. On this day, he’s making some extra cash building a boat deck at Leonard’s Wharf in New Bedford before his next fishing trip. He takes his son with him sometimes.

“He don’t like fishing with me probably,” Schneider says. “Somebody else would be easier.”

His son works as an engineer at a drafting company. But if anything ever happens to him financially Schneider says, “he’s got a [fishing] license and everything and if everything else goes bad he’s always got this.”

Schneider’s daughter owns part of the family business too. But now, Schneider says all of it is at risk. He and other fishermen in New Bedford will soon have to share the open ocean with Vineyard Wind. The company is building the the nation’s first large-scale offshore wind farm…84-turbines about 14 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.

There are final federal and state permits still pending approval but it’s expected onshore construction will start this fall. And by next year, construction will move to the ocean as the over 600 foot turbines settle in their new home.