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Inbook Reference Blue mussel Mytilus edulis as habitat provider on offshore wind turbine foundations
We compare the species composition of the early (mussels not prevalent) and mature (mussels prevalent) subtidal colonizing communities at offshore windturbine foundations with special attention to the mobility and habitat preferences of the colonizing species. We identified 47 species belonging to nine different phyla from the samples of the mature community, including 21 species unique to the secondary substratum provided by the mussel shell, all of them are sessile species. Only 17 of the 37 species identified from the early subtidal colonizing community were present in the mature community. The main phyla present in both the early and mature samples were Mollusca, Arthropoda, and Annelida. Our findings confirm the hypothesis that mussels counteract the impoverishment of total species richness on wind turbines, caused by the abundant presence of Metridium senile in mature artificial hard substratum communities by providing secondary substratum for colonization by. sessile and hemi-sessile epifauna. The species assemblage found on these mussels is different from the one previously found on the piles, and only seventeen species (~36%) present in the mature community were already present in the first year after installation. In 2020, all bryozoan species (7) were exclusively observed on the secondary substratum provided by the shells of the mussels. However, these species were previously encountered on the scour protection or on the shells of other bivalves. This may be due to the fact that the secondary substratum provided by the mussels differs in physical properties (e.g., microhabitat complexity) from the primary (vertical) substratum of the pile.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021
Inbook Reference Offshore renewable energy development in the Belgian part of the North Sea – 2021
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021
Article Reference The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030: Opportunities and challenges on the path towards biodiversity recovery
The European Union (EU) has committed to an ambitious biodiversity recovery plan in its Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the Green Deal. These policies aim to halt biodiversity loss and move towards sustainable development, focusing on restoring degraded habitats, extending the network of protected areas (PAs), and improving the effectiveness of management, governance, and funding. The achievement of conservation goals must be founded on understanding past successes and failures. Here, we summarise the strengths and weaknesses of past EU biodiversity conservation policies and practices and explore future opportunities and challenges. We focus on four main aspects: i) coordination among and within the EU Member States, ii) integration of biodiversity conservation into socio-economic sectors, iii) adequacy and sufficiency of funds, and iv) governance and stakeholder participation.Whilst past conservation efforts have benefitted from common rules across the EU and funding mechanisms, they have failed at operationalizing coordination within and across the Member States, integrating biodiversity conservation into other sectoral policies, adequately funding and effectively enforcing management, and facilitating stakeholder participation in decision-making. Future biodiversity conservation would benefit from an extended and better-managed network of PAs, additional novel funding opportunities, including the private sector, and enhanced co-governance. However, it will be critical to find sustainable solutions to potential conflicts between conservation goals and other socio-economic objectives and to resolve inconsistencies across sectoral policies.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022
Book Reference Environmental impacts of offshore wind farms in the Belgian part of the North Sea: Attraction, avoidance and habitat use at various spatial scales
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021
Inbook Reference Occurrence of intense bird migration events at rotor height in Belgian offshore wind farms and curtailment as possible mitigation to reduce collision risk
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021
Inbook Reference Executive summary: Attraction, avoidance and habitat use at various spatial scales
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021
Article Reference Validating a biophysical dispersal model with the early life-history traits of common sole (Solea solea L.)
Larval dispersal and juvenile survival are crucial in determining variation in recruitment, stock size and adult distribution of commercially important fish. This study investigates the dispersal of early-life stages of common sole (Solea solea L.) in the southern North Sea, both empirically and through modeling. Age at different life-history events of juvenile flatfish sampled along the coasts of Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom in 2013, 2014 and 2016, was determined through the counting of daily growth rings in the otoliths. Juveniles captured between August and October were estimated to be on average 140 days old with an average pelagic larval duration of 34 days. The hatching period was esti- mated between early April and mid-May followed by arrival and settlement in the nurseries between May and mid-June. Growth rates were higher off the Belgian coast than in the other nursery areas, especially in 2013, possibly due to a post-settlement differentiation. Empirical pelagic larval duration and settlement distributions were compared with the L AR- VAE &C O larval dispersal model, which combines local hydrodynamics in the North Sea with sole larval behavior. Yearly predicted and observed settlement matched partially, but the model estimated a longer pelagic phase. The observations fitted even better with the mod- elled average (1995–2015) distribution curves. Aberrant results for the small juvenile sole sampled along the UK coast in March 2016, led to the hypothesis of a winter disruption in the deposition of daily growth rings, potentially related to starvation and lower food availabil- ity. The similarities between measured and modelled distribution curves cross-validated both types of estimations and accredited daily ageing of juveniles as a useful method to cali- brate biophysical models and to understand early-life history of fish, both important tools in support of efficient fisheries management strategies.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021
Article Reference Potential for Mesopelagic Fishery Compared to Economy and Fisheries Dynamics in Current Large Scale Danish Pelagic Fishery
Mesopelagic fish species represent a large potentially unexploited resource for the fishing industry and the fish meal, oil, nutraceutical, and pharmaceutical production. However, thorough investigation on ecological sustainability and socio- economic viability are fundamental prerequisites for potential exploitation. The current study explores the economic viability of a potential mesopelagic fishery investigating minimum catch rates, under the assumption of previous assessments of biological sustainability of such exploitation. We analyzed fishery data from the North-East Atlantic fisheries of the Danish large pelagic fleet from 2015 to 2019, by comparing the combined data on fishing dynamics and cost-structures with data from interviews of key pelagic producer organization representatives to develop scenarios of profitability. The results show full year-round fleet occupation with the ongoing fisheries, exposing the need of switching from existing activities, or investing into new vessels for conducting potential mesopelagic fishery. Economic analyses revealed that the minimum revenue to break even (zero profit) by trip varies among métiers between 60,000 and 200,000 euro showing strong positive correlation with vessel sizes. High profitability was discovered for herring, Atlantic mackerel and blue whiting fisheries while low profitability was observed for the Norway pout fishery. Due to the lack of mesopelagic fishery data, different scenarios of profitability were investigated as informed by the pelagic catch sector stakeholder perceptions of prices and costs and compared to current economic dynamics. A high break-even revenue per trip was forecasted given the increased perceived costs for fuel, modifications of gears and on-board processing methods and potential new vessel investments. High profitability may be reached if the catches exceed 220–1,060 tons per trip depending on costs and vessel storage capacity. If the conservation methods are improved from current refrigerated sea water, fishing trips could last longer than 5 days, being the major limiting economic factor for potential mesopelagic fishery. Future investigations on realistic mesopelagic catches trip durations and spatio-temporal distribution of fisheries in relation to location, resource abundance, fishing rights, storage and conservation methods will be essential to test the robustness of the scenarios proposed in this study, and will in turn benefit of the economic requirements evaluated herein.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021
Article Reference From plate to plug: The impact of offshore renewables on European fisheries and the role of marine spatial planning
Offshore renewables (OR), such as offshore wind farms, are a key pillar to address increasing energy demands and the global transition to a carbon-free power sector. The transition to ever more occupied marine spaces, often facilitated by marine spatial planning (MSP), increases the conflict potential with free ranging marine sectors such as fisheries. Here, we quantified for the first time the direct impact of current and future OR development on fisheries across European seas. We defined direct impact as the average annual fishing effort (h) overlapping with OR planning sites and applied an ensemble approach by deploying and harmonising various fisheries data to optimise spatial coverage for the European seas. The North Sea region will remain the centre of OR development for a long time, but a substantial increase of conflict potential between these sectors will also occur in other European sea basins after 2025. Across all sea basins, fishing fleets deploying bottom contacting gears targeting flatfish and crustaceans are and will be affected the most by the already constructed and planned OR. Our results provide a solid basis towards an understanding of the socio-economic effects of OR development on European fisheries. We argue that European MSP processes need to adopt common strategies to produce standardised and harmonised socio-economic data to understand implications of OR on free-ranging marine activities such as fisheries.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021
Webpublished Reference Offshore wind farms as stepping stones for Non-indigenous species
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021