Passive fishing pilot project at Borssele offshore wind farm

In the next few years, a substantial increase in the number of wind parks in the North Sea is envisaged as many countries try to achieve the Paris Agreement climate goals.

Wind parks occupy valuable space at sea and this results in limitations on the available space for the active fishing sector, for example. But at the same time wind farms provide opportunities. In the Netherlands multi-use applications inside wind parks are a requirement for present and upcoming offshore wind park developments. Multiuse applications include mariculture, fishing activities, nature reinforcement and floating solar panels (PV).

The first realised multi-use applications in Dutch wind parks are artificial reefs, which stimulate the natural development of open ecosystems. And the next upcoming ecological application is passive fishing. Within the Borssele wind farm, space is being allocated for pilot projects using passive fishing techniques over the coming years.

Broad stakeholder collaboration

MARIN has initiated a research pilot project on passive fishing at Borssele, together with the ecological research institute Wageningen Marine Research (WMR) and the economic research institute WeCR. Other partners in the project are Dutch fishing unions, wind farm owners and novel fishing vessel developers. We are also working closely with national and regional authorities, as well as with local fishermen.

A number of pilot projects and research studies are taking place including the use of various passive fishing techniques; rules, regulation and legislation; ecology and a sustainable catch, and how to establish an economically sustainable business case for the fishermen. MARIN is contributing to the project by evaluating the risks, mitigation measures and safety aspects. We will focus on environmental loads, holding capacity and survivability of the fishing equipment, risks of the passive fishing activities and risks related to the equipment for wind park operations.

This pioneering project marks a step into the actual realisation of multi-use applications in offshore wind parks and stimulates a broader vision for the implementation of fisheries in offshore wind farms.

“ MARIN is contributing by evaluating the risks, mitigation measures and safety aspects of various passive fishing techniques.”