Images: Jolien Goossens ©
The rapid development of offshore wind energy calls for an understanding of how fish use the altered habitats around wind turbines and the associated artificial hard substrate. In this one-year study we aim to investigate seasonal residency, site fidelity and spatiotemporal variation in small-scale distribution patterns of three species.
For this study, a temporary network of 28 acoustic receivers is deployed on tripod frames within the Belwind offshore wind farm, located in the Belgian Part of the North Sea. During the summer of 2020, passive acoustic tags are used to tag 40 plaice (Pleuronectes platessa), in addition to acoustic data storage tags for 20 European seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) and 17 Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). Apart from the temporary network, all tagged fish can be detected with Permanent Belgian Acoustic Receiver Network. This telemetry project will elucidate the space use of three species with distinct behaviours (benthic, demersal and pelagic) and possible species interactions.