Hooked on Windfarms?

by David Proudfoot

Have you ever thought about how renewable energy from the marine environment is affecting your angling? Do you fish within current offshore wind farms? Do you use sites that may become wind farms in the future? Do you think they affect your angling experiences?

Plymouth Marine Laboratory is running a survey to find out sea anglers’ opinions and experiences of offshore wind farms around the UK. We are particularly interested in how sea anglers interact with offshore wind farms.

Whether you are a regular sea angler or dabbler, a member of a club or not, we would like to hear your opinions. We would also like to hear your views even if you do not fish in areas with existing or planned wind farms. You can find the survey on the PML website or you can access it directly .

Shore fishing with turbines off shore

Recreation is an important use of our coasts and seas. During June to August this year, an estimated 95.3 million visits were made to the English coast alone. Many of these trips will have involved sea angling. In 2012, surveys with sea anglers recorded 4 million sea angling days throughout the year. Sea angling, along with other marine recreational activities, consequently makes a significant contribution to the economies of coastal towns. If sea angling behaviour changes because of the presence of offshore wind farms, there is a need to know what these changes may be and how they may impact coastal economies.

The UK is the global leader in offshore wind energy generation. By the end of 2014, the UK had 24 offshore wind farms containing 1,301 turbines and with an installed capacity of 4.5 GW (55.9% of existing European offshore wind energy generation capacity). It is expected to achieve over 10 GW by 2020. To put this in context, 5GW will power all the homes in Scotland.

The future of sea fishing

While there have been many studies looking at the impact of offshore wind farms on the natural environment, little is known about how offshore wind farms affect people, especially people who take part in recreational activities along the coast and out to sea. This information is needed if policy-makers are to make well-informed decisions on the use of our marine environment and the role of offshore wind farms within it.

If you have any questions or would like to find out more about this survey and its outcomes, please contact Dr Caroline Hattam or Dr Tara Hooper.

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