How Acoustic Deterrent Devices offer greater confidence in marine mammal safe guarding during installation
Emilie Reeve, Olivia Burke
Carbon Trust, London, UK
The current approach to safe guarding marine mammals during installation requires additional personnel offshore either observing or using passive acoustic monitoring. However the effectiveness of these are unknown leaving uncertainty in the industry's ability to truely safe guard marine mammals near the installation. Furthermore the need for marine mammal observers means there are additional personnel offshore further increasing the possible health and safety risk.
The Offshore Renewable Joint Industry Programme (ORJIP) managed by the Carbon Trust has undertaken a number of literature review and field research to test the efficacy of acoustic deterrent devices (ADD)on marine mammals including, harbour propoise, harbour and grey seals and minke whales, with promising results. These devices provide greater confidence in the safe guarding of marine mammals by deterring them from the piling zone and do not require the use of marine mammal observers as they can be operated by a technician on the installation vessel.
As the industry progresses so to does the need to ensure all attempts to safe guard the marine environment and it's inhabitants are made. It is key that the industry and it's stakeholders utilise modern advances in technology to continue improving on the current approach to reducing the risk of offshore wind on the environment.
Key literature reviews were undertaken on the large evidence base of ADD field trials for harbour porpoise, harbour and grey seals.
A 3 month field study in Iceland was undertaken to understand the effectiveness of acoustic deterrent devices on and minke whales.
The literature review for harbour porpoise, harbour and grey seals, identified that there was sufficient evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of ADDs on these species. The SNCBs were supportive of this and are in the process of drafting a position statement.
The data from the Minke Whale study in Iceland is still under analysis and due to be delivered in February, however early confidential reports suggest that ADDs are also effective in deterring Minke Whales.
By demonstrating the effectiveness of ADDs on these species, this could mean that marine mammal observers are not required to be placed at risk in harsh offshore environments. Furthermore this could result in greatly increased installation times as the ADDs could be used 24/7 in all conditions with greater confidence in the safe guarding of marine mammals.
As the industry progresses and moves to larger sites, further offshore in harsher environments, there needs to be a considered thought on how best to manage the impact to the marine environment and use technological advances to further improve on current approaches. ADDs offer an opportunity to reduce the health and safety risk to personnel and provide greater certainty in the safe guarding of marine mammals for future offshore wind farms.