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COWRIE windfarms and fishing report out for consultation

31The COWRIE (Collaborative Offshore Wind Research Into the Environment) project to investigate options and opportunities for marine fisheries mitigation associated with offshore windfarms has made the Draft Final Report available for a 1-month public consultation. Anyone with an interest in windfarm and fishery interactions is now invited to comment.

The report was produced by Ichthys Marine Ecological Consulting Ltd, in collaboration with an expert advisory group that included representatives from the commercial fishing industry and fisheries management bodies.

Dr. Rob Blyth-Skyrme, Director of Ichthys Marine said “The overall objective of the work has been to create a list of possible mitigation options for fishermen and developers to look through when discussing any windfarm development. Essentially, we are ‘trying to identify ways to help keep fishermen fishing’. We have worked hard to involve the fishing industry, as well as other stakeholders, from the start, and all the industry representatives have provided extremely helpful input.”

For project purposes, mitigation was taken to mean ’measures that limit the adverse effects, or enhance the positive effects, of offshore windfarms on the commercial fishing industry’. Although the options list is not considered to be comprehensive, 26 possible mitigation options were identified, across four different themes: pre-construction, habitats and target species, existing fisheries and new fisheries. While it is hoped that the report findings will prove to be a useful resource, fishermen and developers are still free to work out their own approaches to managing the impacts of individual offshore windfarm developments.

Notes:

Ichthys Marine Ecological Consulting Ltd is a marine fisheries and environmental consultancy company. It works with industry and Government to promote sound management of marine resources.