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Written answer to question S4W-06371

10 April 2012Alex Fergusson (Galloway and West Dumfries) (Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party):

To ask the Scottish Executive what (a) research and (b) impact assessments have been carried out on the impact of offshore (i) wind, (ii) wave and (iii) tidal installations on the marine biodiversity of the west coast, including migrating sharks and the breeding cycles and habitats of fish species, and whether this information is publicly available.

Mr Richard Lochhead :

The Scottish Government has published a Research Implementation Strategy to inform the development of offshore renewable energy in Scottish waters. The Strategy aims to address the gaps in current knowledge that have been identified through the ongoing programme of work to support the development of offshore renewable energy – wind, wave and tidal energy. We will continue to develop this research strategy to tackle issues and identify solutions towards the sustainable development of offshore renewable energy in Scottish waters. The Strategy is available to view at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/marine/marineenergy/ris.

[SSACN- No work is being done to evaluate electro magnetic impact on inshore fish and shark species.]

The Scottish Government has also undertaken a national level Sustainability Appraisal assessment of the Sectoral Marine Plan for offshore wind in Scottish territorial waters. This assessment process includes Strategic Environmental Assessment and Habitats Regulations Appraisal which consider potential effects from proposed offshore energy developments on migratory shark and fish species. The Strategic Environmental Assessment and Habitats Regulations Appraisal are available for public viewing on http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/marine/marineenergy/wind. A similar exercise for wave energy and tidal energy is currently underway.

[SSACN- although it doesn’t clearly state it, the Appraisal only identifies potential impacts – no work is being done to actually evaluate any impact.]

Scottish Ministers consent conditions for the Robin Rigg offshore wind development in the Solway Firth included a schedule of potential impacts. This schedule formed the basis of the Marine Environment Monitoring programme for the development and was fully adopted by the developer, E.ON UK. The programme includes monitoring of seabird and marine mammal interactions with the pre-construction, construction and post construction periods associated with the development of Robin Rigg. A summary of the Marine Environment Monitoring Programme for Robin Rigg can be viewed at http://www.naturalpower.com/sites/default/files/images/MEMP-ECOPY.pdf.

[SSACN – unfortunately it did not include electro magnetic impact on inshore fish and shark species.]

In response to continuing concerns regarding the recovery of west coast marine ecosystems, Marine Scotland commissioned a review of all available science related to oceanography, biological productivity, fish related habitats and ecology and current fisheries management of the area. The results were placed into a framework of the linked marine food-web using a structured ecosystem model. The resulting report may be found at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/marine/science/Publications/publicationslatest/Science/MSSR/2011Reports/MSSR0911.

The issue of potential effects on migratory fish species, notably salmon, sea trout and European eel, are considered at a national scale. The Scottish Government commissioned a review of migratory fish movement and behaviour in 2010 and this is available for public viewing at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/marine/science/Publications/publicationslatest/Science/SMFS/2010Reports/SMFS0114.

[SSACN – it seems to have slipped the Executive’s mind that many inshore fish species are migratory too.]

SCOTTISH EXECUTIVE

Posted in: Shark Bites
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