One wouldn’t consider Nate Mayo and Ed Janiunas kindred spirits.

Mayo’s roots go deep in Provincetown; he is the grandson of a whaler, son of whale rescue pioneer, and floats as easily in the political world as a former legislative aide as he does on the water.

Janiunas, old enough to be Mayo’s father, grew up in Connecticut, spent the majority of his life in the world of high finance, was a vice president at Morgan Stanley, a product of Wall Street who retired to the Cape to start anew.

They are also mismatched when it comes to the wind farm planned southwest of Martha’s Vineyard. Mayo works for Vineyard Wind, which has suggested one possible route for an undersea cable for the 800-megawatt project might be through Lewis Bay in Yarmouth. Janiunas, who is more a supporter of land-based wind projects, doesn’t want the cable near the aquaculture grant he worked so hard to develop.

“They have to be very careful. They have to work closely with commercial fishermen and aquaculturists,” said Janiunas.

On this idea they find common ground and a shared interest. Mayo empathizes with the older man because they traveled a similar path more than a year ago. Mayo, like Janiunas, made his foray into aquaculture with a grant in Provincetown, for reasons similar to Janiunas’ efforts in Yarmouth.

“It’s real. It’s a really compelling type of work,” said Mayo.

So when Janiunas, and a fellow farmer, filed a motion to get involved in the proceedings over how, when, and where the cable should be laid, Vineyard Wind supported them – to a point. Although the wind company didn’t support their request to be interveners, it did back their request to be limited participants, which was granted by the judge.

As limited participants the two are allowed to provide written testimony when the Energy Siting Board makes a tentative decision and can address the board, but they can’t cross examine or appeal.

Early in the process, Vineyard Wind reached out to the grant holders. They have also tried to address concerns by timing the work for the colder months, when the shellfish aren’t as active. Both groups are also working with the Fishermen’s Alliance to establish a mitigation fund.

Mayo believes appropriate protections can be put in place. And there are other grantholders who aren’t as worried as Janiunas.

“We find ourselves disagreeing on the extent of the impact,” Mayo said. “But they are due protections and safeguards.”

Janiunas doesn’t think it’s worth the risk. He thinks the cable can, and should, come ashore at Covell Beach, in Barnstable, where it would do less damage to the environment.

He said his oysters started as small as grains of sand and in a year they have grown to 3 ½ inches; in Canada that kind of growth takes three to five years.

“It’s like a perfect recipe place to grow oysters so why mess with it?” he wondered.

After Janiunas’ first meeting in Boston early this month, Vineyard Wind did alter its preferred route and it signed a host agreement with Barnstable (town officials there were much more amenable than those in Yarmouth) to have the high-voltage transmission come ashore at Covell Beach.

But other government agencies haven’t signed off, and it is still early in the process, so Janiunas hasn’t yet breathed a sigh of relief.

Regardless of the outcome, he thinks it’s important that shellfish farmers became part of the process.

“Everyone is looking at this particular project. It is going to set a lot of precedents,” Janiunas said.

 

Doreen Leggett is communications officer and community journalist for Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Association. The Fishing Life appears monthly.