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Dozens of lobster boats gather off Monhegan to protest floating wind turbine

The project, planned by New England Aqua Ventus, would include a huge wind turbine in place for 20 years.

MONHEGAN, Maine — Scores of Maine lobstermen left the docks Sunday morning to protest plans to build a floating offshore wind turbine near Monhegan Island.

The protest rally included about 80 boats, according to several of the fishermen, and was held a dozen miles offshore, close to the spot where New England Aqua Ventus plans to build the huge wind turbine.

It’s designed as a test project to prove University of Maine technology for a floating platform, but it would be in place for 20 years.

Gov. Janet Mills is proposing to build more of the floating wind turbines farther offshore in the Gulf of Maine. The effort is part of a strategy to increase the amount of renewable power generated in Maine in order to fight climate change.

Fishermen say the turbines pose a threat to lobsters and other marine life, and that the underwater cable and other aspects are also a threat to the fishermen.

“It’s a threat to our livelihood its going to mess with the ocean and our way of life, no doubt about it,” lobsterman Andy House said. “And you say this one off Monhegan will still cause problems? Like I say, this one off Monhegan I truly believe is the foot in the door to get more than one out there.”

That site near Monhegan Island was designated by the state as a test site for offshore wind platforms more than 10 years ago.

The site and the route for the underwater cable are all within Maine’s three-mile boundary for state waters.

New England Aqua Ventus has said it is working with fishermen and other groups to make sure the project does not harm fisheries or create other problems in the area. It is currently using special ships to survey the proposed route for the buried cable to bring the power to shore, which is why the protest was held today.