Evidence of potential synergy between aquaculture and offshore renewable energy
Keywords:Aquaculture, Connectivity, Larvae, Numerical model, Offhsore renewable energy
Worldwide increased demand for offshore renewable energy (ORE) industries and aquaculture requires developing efficient tools to optimize the use of the offshore space, reducing anthropic pressure. The synergetic development of marine renewable energy infrastructure with mariculture has been hypothesized as a way to reduce costs through shared infrastructure. In the Irish Sea, blue mussels (Mytilus edulis L.) represent 40 - 50 % of the total gross turnover of Welsh shellfish industries and the industry has been operating sustainably for over 50 years in North Wales. However, the region is also attractive for tidal energy projects, with strong tidal currents (> 2m/s) occurring, and offshore wind farms, with shallow waters (approx. 50 m) and consistent winds. In this context, it is of scientific and economic interest to study the potential impact of ORE on shellfish larvae recruitment. A numerical approach has been developed using an Eulerian hydrodynamic model coupled with a Lagrangian particle tracking model, which allowed the simulation of tidal currents, wind-driven currents and larval dispersal. Results show: 1) interannual variability of density distribution of larvae; and 2) strong connectivity between commercial shellfish beds and ORE sites. This study shows the importance of ORE site selection in order to: 1) reduce biofouling on ORE infrastructures and 2) develop multi-use platforms at sea to combine needs for ORE and for mariculture.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Jonathan Demmer, Matthew Lewis, Peter Robins, Simon Neill
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