Changes in fish communities on a small spatial scale, an effect of increased habitat complexity by an offshore wind farm

R. van Hal*, A.B. Griffioen, O.A. van Keeken

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The number of offshore wind farms (OWF) is increasing to meet the demands for renewable energy. The piles and hard substrate surrounding these piles creates new habitat for species with preference to hard substrates. We studied the impact of this hard substrate on the fish community in a Dutch OWF in the sandy southern North Sea, which had been in operation for five years. Multi-mesh gillnets were placed near the OWF structures on the hard substrate protection revetments and on the sandy bottom in the middle of the farm. The catches indicated attraction of cod, pouting, bullrout and edible and velvet crab, while attraction to the sandy habitat was shown for flatfish and whiting. Further, two species previously not caught in this area, goldsinny wrasse and grey trigger fish, were caught on the hard substrate. In addition a Dual-Frequency Identification Sonar (DIDSON) was used to record transects through the farm to observe individual fish in the water column throughout the farm and very near the OWF structures. High abundances of fish near the structure were observed during some days, while during other days equal distribution of fish in the area was observed. The area around the structures is thus only used temporarily for shelter or feeding. The DIDSON also allowed looking at the aggregation level of the fish. Seasonally the aggregation level differed most likely due to different species occurring in the area. In April, most fish were aggregated in schools, while in summer most observations were individual fish or loose aggregations. The wind farm structures had limited effect on the aggregation level compared to season or weather conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-36
JournalMarine Environmental Research
Volume126
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Fingerprint

Offshore wind farms
wind farm
scale effect
Fish
farm structure
habitat
fish
habitats
substrate
Agglomeration
Substrates
Sonar
sonar
farms
farm
Ctenolabrus rupestris
Piles
pile
whiting
Revetments

Keywords

  • Acoustic camera
  • Community effects
  • Fish
  • Hard substrates
  • North sea
  • Schooling
  • Static gear
  • Wind power

Cite this

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title = "Changes in fish communities on a small spatial scale, an effect of increased habitat complexity by an offshore wind farm",
abstract = "The number of offshore wind farms (OWF) is increasing to meet the demands for renewable energy. The piles and hard substrate surrounding these piles creates new habitat for species with preference to hard substrates. We studied the impact of this hard substrate on the fish community in a Dutch OWF in the sandy southern North Sea, which had been in operation for five years. Multi-mesh gillnets were placed near the OWF structures on the hard substrate protection revetments and on the sandy bottom in the middle of the farm. The catches indicated attraction of cod, pouting, bullrout and edible and velvet crab, while attraction to the sandy habitat was shown for flatfish and whiting. Further, two species previously not caught in this area, goldsinny wrasse and grey trigger fish, were caught on the hard substrate. In addition a Dual-Frequency Identification Sonar (DIDSON) was used to record transects through the farm to observe individual fish in the water column throughout the farm and very near the OWF structures. High abundances of fish near the structure were observed during some days, while during other days equal distribution of fish in the area was observed. The area around the structures is thus only used temporarily for shelter or feeding. The DIDSON also allowed looking at the aggregation level of the fish. Seasonally the aggregation level differed most likely due to different species occurring in the area. In April, most fish were aggregated in schools, while in summer most observations were individual fish or loose aggregations. The wind farm structures had limited effect on the aggregation level compared to season or weather conditions.",
keywords = "Acoustic camera, Community effects, Fish, Hard substrates, North sea, Schooling, Static gear, Wind power",
author = "{van Hal}, R. and A.B. Griffioen and {van Keeken}, O.A.",
year = "2017",
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volume = "126",
pages = "26--36",
journal = "Marine Environmental Research",
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TY - JOUR

T1 - Changes in fish communities on a small spatial scale, an effect of increased habitat complexity by an offshore wind farm

AU - van Hal, R.

AU - Griffioen, A.B.

AU - van Keeken, O.A.

PY - 2017

Y1 - 2017

N2 - The number of offshore wind farms (OWF) is increasing to meet the demands for renewable energy. The piles and hard substrate surrounding these piles creates new habitat for species with preference to hard substrates. We studied the impact of this hard substrate on the fish community in a Dutch OWF in the sandy southern North Sea, which had been in operation for five years. Multi-mesh gillnets were placed near the OWF structures on the hard substrate protection revetments and on the sandy bottom in the middle of the farm. The catches indicated attraction of cod, pouting, bullrout and edible and velvet crab, while attraction to the sandy habitat was shown for flatfish and whiting. Further, two species previously not caught in this area, goldsinny wrasse and grey trigger fish, were caught on the hard substrate. In addition a Dual-Frequency Identification Sonar (DIDSON) was used to record transects through the farm to observe individual fish in the water column throughout the farm and very near the OWF structures. High abundances of fish near the structure were observed during some days, while during other days equal distribution of fish in the area was observed. The area around the structures is thus only used temporarily for shelter or feeding. The DIDSON also allowed looking at the aggregation level of the fish. Seasonally the aggregation level differed most likely due to different species occurring in the area. In April, most fish were aggregated in schools, while in summer most observations were individual fish or loose aggregations. The wind farm structures had limited effect on the aggregation level compared to season or weather conditions.

AB - The number of offshore wind farms (OWF) is increasing to meet the demands for renewable energy. The piles and hard substrate surrounding these piles creates new habitat for species with preference to hard substrates. We studied the impact of this hard substrate on the fish community in a Dutch OWF in the sandy southern North Sea, which had been in operation for five years. Multi-mesh gillnets were placed near the OWF structures on the hard substrate protection revetments and on the sandy bottom in the middle of the farm. The catches indicated attraction of cod, pouting, bullrout and edible and velvet crab, while attraction to the sandy habitat was shown for flatfish and whiting. Further, two species previously not caught in this area, goldsinny wrasse and grey trigger fish, were caught on the hard substrate. In addition a Dual-Frequency Identification Sonar (DIDSON) was used to record transects through the farm to observe individual fish in the water column throughout the farm and very near the OWF structures. High abundances of fish near the structure were observed during some days, while during other days equal distribution of fish in the area was observed. The area around the structures is thus only used temporarily for shelter or feeding. The DIDSON also allowed looking at the aggregation level of the fish. Seasonally the aggregation level differed most likely due to different species occurring in the area. In April, most fish were aggregated in schools, while in summer most observations were individual fish or loose aggregations. The wind farm structures had limited effect on the aggregation level compared to season or weather conditions.

KW - Acoustic camera

KW - Community effects

KW - Fish

KW - Hard substrates

KW - North sea

KW - Schooling

KW - Static gear

KW - Wind power

U2 - 10.1016/j.marenvres.2017.01.009

DO - 10.1016/j.marenvres.2017.01.009

M3 - Article

VL - 126

SP - 26

EP - 36

JO - Marine Environmental Research

JF - Marine Environmental Research

SN - 0141-1136

ER -