Environmental assessment and planning

Reviewing the impacts of geophysical and geotechnical offshore wind park site investigation surveys on key fisheries


In 2023 BlueWise Marine was contracted by Wind Energy Ireland (WEI) to carry out a desktop review of the impacts of geophysical and geotechnical site investigation surveys on key fisheries in Irish waters.  

Wind energy developers carry out geophysical and geotechnical surveys for offshore wind park site investigations to assess feasibility and critical technical and design constraints for their infrastructure developments. The research commissioned by WEI will primarily focus on possible effects of underwater sound and particle motion on commercially important species. The project team will the rreview the available literature and carry out consultations with relevant organisations, such as the Marine Institute and Bord Iascaigh Mhara, as well as the Wind Energy Ireland’s ORE Seafood Working Group.  

Scope of Work: 

This desktop review has two main work packages. The first work package consists of engaging with the fishing industry, relevant researchers, and public bodies to identify and map key commercial fish and shellfish species that may be affected by the geophysical and geotechnical surveys and determine which of the identified key species are more sensitive to the impacts of the surveys than others.  

The second work package includes a systematic literature review to assess the available knowledge on the impacts that geophysical and geotechnical surveys may have on the identified species or groups of species of interest. This will include an overview of the techniques used in those surveys, as well as the fish-finding techniques used by fishers, for reference. The review will assess known impacts on physiology, species behaviour (avoidance, adaptation, habituation, etc.) and measured effects (per species, when possible) to estimate the likely impact of the surveys using accepted methodologies.