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Article Reference Octet Stream 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
Webpublished Reference Offshore wind farms as stepping stones for Non-indigenous species
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021
Article Reference Small suspension-feeding amphipods play a pivotal role in carbon dynamics around offshore man-made structures
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022 OA
Article Reference D source code Generalized changes of benthic communities after construction of wind farms in the southern North Sea
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022 OA
Mastersthesis Reference Amino Acid Fingerprinting to Distinguish Between Faecal Pellets of Fouling Fauna near an Offshore Wind Farm
Installation of OWFs have increased with the aim to combat climate change. They act as hard substrates which facilitates the growth of fouling fauna that are capable of enriching the sediments surrounding OWFs. Hence, biogeochemical changes occur and potentially creates a carbon sink, possibly demonstrating an unexpected positive effect of OWFs. Faecal pellets released by fouling fauna cannot be easily distinguished from other end-members of the OM pool (phytoplankton, zooplankton) and therefore this enrichment pathway has not been quantified yet. This study focused on optimising a CSIA-AA protocol for the novel use of amino acid fingerprinting of the FPs of dominant fouling fauna collected from an OWF in Belgium and investigate species-specific and season-stable patterns in AAs. Results suggested that the CSIA-AA protocol was successful in characterising the AAs in the FPs and were able to identify trophic AAs (increase in δ 15 N with trophic level) that were species- specific (alanine and isoleucine) and some that were stable across seasons (aspartic acid and leucine). Hence, future research can use CSIA-AA to accurately identify season-stable tracers that are specific to fouling fauna, characterise other end-members of the OM pool and estimate the contribution of each member to the carbon budget of an OWF.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022
Unpublished Reference Should we value biofouling communities?
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 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 Offshore wind farms and the attraction–production hypothesis: insights from a combination of stomach content and stable isotope analyses
Offshore wind farms (OWFs) act as arti- ficial reefs, attracting high abundances of fish, which could potentially increase their local production. This study investigates the feeding ecology of fish species that abundantly occur at artificial habitats, such as OWFs, by examining the short- and the long-term dietary composition of five species: the benthopelagic Gadus morhua and Trisopterus luscus, the pelagic Scomber scombrus and Trachurus trachurus, and the benthic Myoxocephalus scorpioides. We conducted combined stomach content and stable isotope analyses to examine the short- and the time-integrated dietary composition, respectively. Our results indicated that benthopelagic and benthic species utilize artificial reefs, such as OWFs, as feeding grounds for a prolonged period, since both analyses indicated that they exploit fouling organisms occurring exclusively on artificial hard substrates. Trachurus trachurus only occasionally uses artificial reefs as oases of highly abundant resources. Scomber scombrus does not feed on fouling fauna and therefore its augmented presence in OWFs is probably related to reasons other than the enhanced food availability. The long-termed feeding preferences of benthic and benthopelagic species contribute to the hypothesis that the artificial reefs of OWFs could potentially increase the fish production in the area. However, this was not supported for the pelagic species.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022
Article Reference Offshore Wind Farm Footprint on Organic and Mineral Particle Flux to the Bottom.
Offshore wind farms (OWFs) are an important source of renewable energy accounting for 2.3% of the European Union’s electricity demand. Yet their impact on the environment needs to be assessed. Here, we couple a hydrodynamic (including tides and waves) and sediment transport model with a description of the organic carbon and mineral particle dynamics in the water column and sediments. The model is applied to the Belgian Coastal Zone (BCZ) where OWFs currently occupy 7% of its surface area which is estimated to double in the next 5 years. The impact of OWFs on the environment is represented through the filtration of the water column and fecal pellets production by the blue mussel, the dominant fouling organism. Our model simulations show that the impact of biodeposition on the mud particle sedimentation and on sediment composition is small compared to the fluxes associated with tidal deposition and resuspension and the lateral inputs. In contrast, the total organic carbon (TOC) flux to the sediment is significantly altered inside the OWF perimeters and TOC deposition is increased up to 50% in an area 5 km around the monopiles. Further away, the TOC flux to the bottom decreases with a notable effect up to 30 km away. The major changes are found along the direction of the main residual current and tidal ellipse’s major axis. In addition, sub-mesoscale gyres act as retention areas with increased carbon deposition. A future OWF in the BCZ will be located close to gravel beds in a Natura 2000 area, considered as vulnerable habitats and biodiversity hotspots. The different scenarios for this OWF, varying in turbine number and positioning, are compared in terms of impact on the carbon and mineral particle deposition flux in the BCZ and, particularly, to these gravel beds. The scenarios show that the number of turbines has only a slight impact on the TOC deposition flux, unlike their positioning that significantly alters the TOC flux to the gravel beds. The TOC deposition flux exceeds 50%, when the turbines are placed next to the gravel beds; while a limited increase is simulated, when the turbines are located the farthest possible from them.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021