- There could be a geospatial and socio-ecological intersection between climate change, energy production, and sustainable fisheries management in the United States. Marine renewable energy generation efforts are currently being planned, studied, and initially implemented in the country as a response to climate change. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is presently working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to establish Offshore Wind Energy generation (OWE) sites in federal waters off the West Coast. NOAA has conducted scientific fisheries surveys in many of these potential sites off the Oregon Coast for decades. NOAA needs to understand how OWE operations may impact these surveys as they provide critical data streams which inform groundfish stock assessments and harvest regulations within the state. The objective of this study was to develop a geospatial tool that could be used to assess such impacts. Sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria) Catch Per Unit Effort (CPUE) estimates that were gathered along the Oregon Coast from 2003 to 2019 were used as the example as sablefish is an ecologically and economically important species on the West Coast. Sablefish CPUE estimates derived from the WCGBT survey within the proposed offshore wind energy “Call Areas”, as well as specific areas outside of the Call Areas, were quantified and statistically analyzed to find out which geographic locations generated higher CPUE values. The total area covered by both Call Areas in Oregon is 1,811 square miles (4690 km2; 1,159,040 acres): Coos Bay is the larger (1,364 mi2; 3533 km2; 872,854 acres) and Brookings is the smaller (448 mi2;1160 km2; 286,444 acres) of the two. Methods utilized by Pacific Fisheries Management Council (2022) served as the foundation upon which the geospatial tool for this study was developed. ArcGIS Pro and R were the primary platforms that were used for tool construction. Significant differences were found in some of the one way/single factor ANOVA tests that were used to statistically compare average Ln(CPUE) values in discrete geographic areas within and outside the Call Areas. Tukey Post-hoc test results revealed exactly which geographic locations were significantly different in each comparison. The findings of this study reveal that this geospatial tool could be a viable option to better understand and monitor the interaction of OWE generation and scientific fisheries surveys. The tool can be customized and applied to a variety of species and metrics in various locations in a spatially explicit manner thereby supporting NOAA in its decision making regarding OWE, fisheries science, and fisheries management in Oregon. Present and future decision-makers at various levels need to consider the complexity of the intersection between climate change, energy production, and sustainable fisheries management in Oregon as these factors affect our overall food security and energy security – not only within the state but also nationally. It is vital to proactively identify tools and strategies that can assist in mitigating potentially negative impacts of OWE in the face of a growing MRE industry.
- Keywords: GIS, geospatial, Geographic Information Science, Geographic Information Systems, Climate Change, Energy, Energy Production, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Fisheries Management, Fisheries, Fisheries Management, Offshore Wind Energy, Floating Offshore Wind, Oregon, West Coast