The charter, written by the developers of the proposed Codling Wind Park, is backed by a €500,000 fund which will be spent over the next five years on initiatives to support both the fishers and the environment they work in.

Fishers are being asked to bring forward their own ideas based on the concerns they have expressed about the construction of the wind farm and how its long-term operation may affect them.

Separately, the developers have said they are open to the idea of helping to develop a lobster hatchery to raise and release young lobsters into the Irish Sea to boost stocks for future generations.

The moves come as competition for space in Irish waters to develop offshore energy heats up.

Codling’s plans are to build up to 100 turbines, 320 metres high, 13-22km off the Co Wicklow coast between Greystones and Wicklow town.

Its backers, EDF Renewables and Fred. Olsen Seawind, are currently in a state-run auction for contracts to supply electricity, the provisional results of which will be known within the next fortnight.

If successful, they intend submitting a planning application before the end of this year.

Offshore wind developers are required by regulation to establish a “community benefit fund” to distribute a portion of their earnings to the area where their operations are based.

But the move to create a charter specifically for fishers is a recognition of how sensitive an issue the development of offshore energy is for the sector and how their cooperation will be important in its smooth roll-out.

Codling said it had already appointed a fisheries engagement manager who met regularly with local inshore and offshore fishers and the terms of reference and implementation of the charter and fund was being discussed directly with them.

It said the Fisheries Charter would be the first code of its type between an offshore wind developer and fishers in Ireland.

Company representative Scott Sutherland said: “The purpose of this fund is to support initiatives that could be of benefit to fishing communities, rather than benefiting one individual fisher over another. For example, adding value to a fishery, improving port infrastructure, improving safety, or exploring innovation and fishery diversification.”

Six offshore wind projects are currently engaged in the auction and while it is expected five of them will receive contracts, there are still hurdles to clear before getting the final green light to proceed to development.

Assessment of the planning application is expected to be protracted and issues not ironed out with the local community in advance could hold up the process.

Around the coast, protection of fishers and marine biodiversity have emerged as a key concern.?

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