ICES Annual Science Conference 2024

Theme session G

Ecosystem outcomes of co-existence with offshore renewable energy 
​​​​​This session brings together experts to share experience and knowledge on the outcomes of co-existence between the environment and offshore renewable energy, specifically how the marine and coastal ecosystems have responded to the development of offshore renewable energy installations. It aims to set out the key elements of change that define the offshore renewable - marine and coastal environment relationship. Co-existence is defined in different ways and the topic of co-location (which we consider is designed or managed co-existence) is of considerable interest, with specific actions by some nations to promote it.

The session will provide a platform for researchers to share their experiences of co-existence/co-location ranging from individual site aspects to greater spatial scales. Furthermore, defining the outcomes can consider a focal species, habitat, ecological function, and/or ecosystem service.  The evidence base will have commonalities regardless of location; critical for future multidisciplinary and transboundary research and strategic monitoring.

The development of a renewable energy site includes the construction of devices, power cable installation over months to years and operation over decades. The outcomes of co-existence for these periods of development may be different and change over time and over different spatial scales. The installation of offshore renewable energy hard structures can affect different components of the ecosystem, which in turn may affect ecological processes and functions.
Outcomes for other existing marine uses, could be negative (e.g. fisheries displacement) or potentially positive (e.g. removing existing human pressures, leading to artificial reef/no-fishing zone effects) – however evidence is variable. Given the scale and potential system-wide consequences to the ecosystem and society of offshore renewable energy development, there is a pressing need to determine the relevant knowledge-base and gaps in research and data to determine the ecosystem outcomes of co-existence.​

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Andrew Gill (UK)
Ninon Mavraki (Netherlands)
Daniel Wood (UK)​
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Theme session G

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