Marine renewable energy: An agenda for fish and fisheries research

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    The past decade has witnessed rapid developments in wave and tidal stream technology (Marine Energy - ME). The pace of technological development has been hastened by high levels of direct government assistance. The UK government has invested over £100m in technology developers and test facilities. Production subsidies 3 and 5 times than those available for onshore wind are attracting substantial private sector investment. Policy drivers are threefold: climate change; energy security and economic development. In the UK it is estimated that 15-20% of electricity needs could be met by ME development requiring a multi billion pound capital investment programme. Test facilities are now trialling full scale prototype devices and the first Scottish seabed leases have been allocated for 1.6GW of installed capacity around the Orkney archipelago. This first round of development may involve 1,000 devices. If ME development achieves its full potential it will require the installation of tens of thousands of devices restricting access to large areas of sea for other users. There remains a lack of clarity about final device design; this together with a lack of understanding of environmental impact and high development pressure has resulted in the so called “double ‘U’ dilemma” of Urgency and Unknowns. To date UK research into environmental effects has focussed on potential disturbance of marine mammals and sea birds. Relatively little research has considered impacts on fish, fisheries or wider ecosystem effects. Interactions with fish and fisheries are likely to be diverse determined inter alia by device design, layout and installation procedures; location; fishing activity; and behavioural characteristics of fish. Furthermore interactions between ME technology fish and fisheries need to be determined against a backdrop of climate change induced effects. This paper summarises the state of the ME technology and its development before outlining an agenda for fish and fisheries research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - May 2012
    EventWorld Fisheries Congress - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    Duration: 7 May 201211 May 2012


    ConferenceWorld Fisheries Congress
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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