Jul 20 2011

Fishing Industry

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Large offshore wind installations are expected to have an impact on the fishing industry. Overall, scientists believe that fish populations will increase. There are two main reasons for this.
Artificial Reef Effect
Artificial reefs are created when man-made structures are sunk into the ocean and become part of the ecosystem. This process could be a secondary ecological and economic benefit of creating offshore wind farms. Studies already show organisms colonize on structures similar to wind turbine foundations (Andersson; Atilla; Azevedo). The potential biomass gain still needs further research, but it is widely accepted that colonization will help the ecosystem.  In Denmark, blue mussel populations increased in biomass by 7-18 times due to artificial reefs (Maar).  Wind turbine foundations would provide shelter and nutrients to fish and crabs, increasing their population size.
The second reason fish populations may thrive around turbines is because trawling will no longer be feasible in these areas. This would decrease the amount of commercial fishing that could happen within the wind farm.  The fish populations may increase in surrounding areas which would increase the yield for fishermen.


Property of Dhammika Heenpella

Although commercial fishing may suffer a loss from offshore wind installations, recreational fishing is expected to benefit significantly. Again, there is expected to be more fish within the installation due to the artificial reef effect and the absence of trawling. This could increase yields for recreational fishing because of less competition for more fish. Having designated fishing areas would also allow for better enforcement of regulations of fishing limits which would also help to preserve large fish populations.




For more information about artificial reefs and other habitat alterations click here.

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Fishing Industry”

  1.   Modestoon 20 Feb 2013 at 11:37 pm

    This really is the third post, of urs I actually went through.
    But yet I really love this particular 1, “Energy and the Environment-A Coastal Perspective
    – Fishing Industry” the very best. Thanks -Johnnie

  2.   Dan Huddlestonon 15 Jul 2014 at 5:29 am

    In assessing the impacts of offshore wind farms on fish communities and their corresponding fisheries, the long-term effects seem to be mostly positive. One of the largest and most beneficial results of the establishment of wind power is that of reducing the emissions of climate-changing agents, which will largely be seen through the offsetting of global carbon dioxide emissions, thus improving the health of oceanic communities as well as sustaining biodiversity. Another benefit of the primary and secondary structures associated with wind turbine foundations and general construction, aside from the aforementioned artificial reef effect, is that of serving as Fish Aggregation Devices, also referred to as FAD. These objects are man-made and serve to attract a host of pelagic fish, and while species vary in their reason for grouping around such objects, it is commonly thought that the main point of attraction comes from simply being an object present in an otherwise visually void ‘ocean-scape’. The effect is commonly sighted in the natural environment, so much so that many commercial and recreational fisheries now employ their use.

    Another recent innovation involves the creation of an aquaculture within the confines of the wind farm. Although this process is still in the experimental stages, the group Ecofys hopes to combine the cultivation of seaweed with the protective properties that wind farms offer. In this manner, the seaweed will be harvested as a means of feed for fish and other animals, as well as being used in the production of biofuels and other forms of useable energy. This seems to be a plausible schematic due to the excluding of commercial fishing, transportation, and shipping from these areas, which allows for the creation of a ‘marine protection area’ along with offering the services of seaweed fields as a means of habitat and food.


    AWI. (2012). First offshore aquaculture project as a multifunctional use of offshore wind farms. Retrieved from Marine aquaculture projects: http://www.awi.de/en/research/new_technologies/marine_aquaculture_maritime_technologies_and_iczm/projects/marine_aquaculture_projects/offshore_aquaculture/

    Ecofys. (2012, March). Ecofys launches test module for seaweed cultivation in offshore wind farms. Retrieved from http://www.ecofys.com/en/press/ecofys-launches-trial-module-for-seaweed-cultivation-in-offshore-wind-farm/

    EWEA. (2009). Wind Energy – The Facts. London.

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