This post-construction monitoring report has been prepared by Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Limited (BOWL) as part of the Project Environmental Monitoring Programme (PEMP) required as part of Section 36 Consents. This report describes the post-construction element of condition 27 PEMP in relation to sandeel. The completion of this survey also satisfies condition 36 of BOWL’s Section 36 consent in that a pre-construction and post-construction sandeel survey must be conducted.
The overall survey methodology and survey equipment used replicated that previously agreed with Marine Scotland Science (MSS) and Marine Scotland Licensing and Operations Team (MS-LOT) for the undertaking of the pre-construction survey. However, following updated advice from MSS, the post-construction survey was undertaken in December instead of February/March. In addition, some sampling locations were shifted to avoid wind farm infrastructure.
A total of 61 stations were sampled, using a modified shellfish dredge (sandeel dredge). Dredging was carried out during night hours when the majority of sandeels were expected to be buried in the sediment.
A total of 3,556 sandeels were caught during the survey at 58 out of the 61 stations sampled.
Four species of sandeels were caught during the survey:
• Raitt’s sandeel (Ammodytes marinus);
• Lesser sandeel (Ammodytes tobianus);
• Smooth sandeel (Gymnammodytes semisquamatus); and
• Greater sandeel (Hyperoplus lanceolatus).
The most abundant species caught during the survey was A. marinus (3,397 individuals, accounting for 97.31% of the total sandeel catch). A. tobianus, G. semisquamatus, and H. lanceolatus were all recorded in very low numbers (88 individuals, 2.52%; 8 individuals, 0.14%; and 1 individual, 0.03%), respectively.
Overall, sandeels were found in higher numbers in stations in the south-eastern section of the site. This is consistent with the results of the 2014 pre-construction survey. During postconstruction, however, sandeels were found in higher numbers than pre-construction. From the results of the post-construction survey there is no evidence to suggest that the construction of Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm has resulted in negative impacts on the local sandeel population.