Hank Hewitt: Anglers’ paradise among the turbines

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As a professional angler, one of the main reasons Hank likes Block Island wind farm has, in fact, little to do with energy.  Find out why. 
Throughout the main part of the summer season, my life is lived more on the water than it is on land. 

I’ve been fishing since I was five. Back then, I would sooner give up Christmas than give up an opening day of trout season. Now I’m a charter boat fishing captain here on the island. I feel like that's where I was born to be – on the water. The feeling I get while I’m out here is one of ultimate freedom. 
I moved here from Scranton, Pennsylvania – for the fishing, the pristine beaches, the raw nature. As an angler, I’ve learned that the island is a beacon for a multitude of different fish species. I know how the water moves, I know the different structures, I know what I'm pursuing. I’m often texting Kim Gaffett about certain birds as they can tell you what type of bait is down below. 

When I first moved to Block Island, the wind farm was still in discussion. I wasn’t sure how it would impact the fish in the area. But it turns out one of the main reasons I like the wind farm has nothing to do with energy.
Hank moved to Block Island for the fishing
The turbine structures create an artificial reef

If you can use the natural forces of the earth to convert to electricity into the grid, and you're not destroying the planet doing it, I'm all for it.

— Hank Hewitt

The way I look at the turbines is, you have what's under the water. The turbine structure has the potential to be an artificial reef for a lot of species that are in decline, and potentially overfished right now. You look at the studies done, and so far, it does not appear to have any negative impact on the species of fish you find in the area. 

And then you have what the turbine is doing above the water. And that's your energy creation. Part of the reason why I left Pennsylvania was because of the habitat degradation and potential effects of natural gas fracturing. So, if you can use the natural forces of the earth to convert to electricity into the grid, and you're not destroying the planet doing it, I'm all for it. 
Hank believes that fishing and offshore wind can coexist
The children growing up here definitely have a greater bond and attachment to the environment. They get out of school, and they go straight to the ocean to surf, fish and swim. It's their lifestyle, they're part of it. 

My hope is that that the future generation of environmental stewards will look at better, more efficient ways to harness and store the energy that's gained from what's in the water.

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