August 13, 2014
by Paul Stainer
The EIMR (Environmental Impacts of Marine Renewables) conference was held April 30 – May 1 2014 on the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides, Scotland, UK. Two hundred scientists from the UK, Europe, and North America came together at the An Lanntair Arts Centre in Stornoway, for two days of oral and poster presentations, with a series of workshops on closely related topics rounding out the week.
This is the second EIMR conference, following a very successful gathering in Kirkwall on Orkney, Scotland, UK, in 2012. The EIMR conference is rapidly becoming a major international gathering for researchers, regulators, and students who focus on understanding the potential environmental effects of marine energy development.
As wave and tidal energy developments emerge around the world, there continues to be knowledge gaps about interactions of these devices with ecological and physical processes in the marine environment. The emerging marine energy industry needs input from the research community to site and permit their developments; at the same time, these new developments presents the research community with rare opportunities to investigate interactions. Marine Scotland Science and Planning & Policy Division staff and supervised PhD students had a strong presence at the conference.
You may access copies of the slides and posters below:
- Practical Experience of Sectoral Planning for Marine Renewable Energy Development in Scotland – Ian Davies and David Pratt, Marine Scotland Science
Sectoral marine planning (SMP) for marine renewables is providing a foundation for the development of these new offshore industries. The planning process combines technical analyses of opportunities and constraints, together with broad public consultation to ensure that resultant Plans are a robust basis for sustainable development. Practical experience has emphasised the importance of using the best available data relating to the available resource, environmental characteristics, and current uses. A number of examples were described for which data improvements are needed.
- New Perspectives on Fisheries: Combining the Distribution of Inshore and Offshore Commercial Fisheries in Scotland. – Andronikos Kafas
Scotland’s seas support diverse commercial fisheries, including both inshore and offshore fishing fleets. The offshore fleet (overall vessel length ≥15m) is covered by Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) offering bi-hourly location data which can be linked to landings information. On the other hand, Scottish inshore fishing vessels do not carry VMS, and their activity was recently mapped using an interview based approach with fishery stakeholders (the ScotMap project). Increasing competition over marine space highlighted the need for comprehensive spatial information on fishing activities. Here we describe how combining commercial and stakeholders’ data can provide a Scotland-wide spatial representation of fisheries to assist in marine planning for renewable energy, conservation and fisheries management.
- Salmon in Scottish Coastal Waters: Recent Advancements in Knowledge in Relation to their Interactions with Marine Renewable Energy Installations – Jason Godfrey
There are concerns about interactions between Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) and migratory fish, in particular Atlantic salmon. Marine Scotland Science (MSS) is attempting to gain information in key areas. Firstly it is necessary to obtain information about which populations of salmon occupy which coastal areas. To this end MSS has been undertaken a programme of genetic characterisation of regional variation in salmon, based on Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, in order to assign fish intercepted at sea to their likely region of origin. In addition to obtaining geographical distribution of migrating salmon, information about the depths at which they are swimming in coastal waters is vital in the assessment of potential impact of MRE devices. In May-June 2013 MSS fitted pop-up satellite tags to adult salmon caught on the north coast, recording water depth and temperature at regular intervals, and providing a single geographic location following detachment.
- Modelling Offshore Wind Farms off the East Coast of Scotland using the Finite-Volume Coastal Ocean Model (FVCOM). – Rory O’Hara Murray
The key points of his poster included : (i) The tidal and wind driven currents were modelled around two large offshore wind farms, with large gravity base foundations. (ii) The results showed that large gravity base foundations can influence currents; mainly within their immediate vicinity, but also in the far field. (iii) This could have implications on mixing and sediment transport within the region (future work).
- Recent experience of CIA in renewables consenting in Scotland – Dr Ian Davies
Cumulative Impact Assessment arises under EIA Directive and Natura Regulations. The presentation concentrated on CIA of east coast wind farms and port developments on mammals (SACs) and seabirds (SPAs). Messages emphasised the need to plan for CIA early in the application process, and to try to develop consistent assessment processes across developments.
- Overview of survey, data collection and data analysis challenges – Dr Jared Wilson
Survey design, data collection and data analysis at proposed wave or tidal stream development sites can be challenging due to their small size, dynamic conditions and high spatial and temporal variation in seabird abundance. The application of standard approaches developed for large areas of open water may not be appropriate and result in poor ability to characterise a site or detect effects post-construction. This workshop aims to discuss the challenges faced and identify practical solutions .
- Input Information for Salmon Collision Risk Modelling – Ross Gardiner
PhD student (supervised by MS staff)
- A Combination of Empirical and Modelled Datasets Reveals Associations between Deep Diving Seabirds and Oceanographical Processes at Fine Spatiotemporal Scales in a High Energy Habitat. – James Waggitt
- Marine Mammals and Tidal Turbines: What are the Issues of Concern and how are they being Resolved? – Ben Wilson
The oral presentation, papers and posters presented at EIMR 2014 are hosted at the TETHYS website. Each paper or poster is listed by first author, along with a brief description. Most papers include an extended abstract, video of presentation slides, and an audio file of the presentation, all attached as downloadable pdfs. A few papers and sessions do not have complete audio or video files. Some posters are presented as downloadable pdfs as well.
Input information for salmon collision risk modelling – Ross Gardiner
Recent experience of CIA in renewables consenting in Scotland – Dr Ian Davies
Overview of survey, data collection and data analysis challenges – Dr Jared Wilson
Article by Andronikos Kafas