The offshore wind sector in the UK is expanding rapidly and is set to occupy significant areas of the coastal zone, making it necessary to explore the potential for co-location with other economic activities. The presence of turbine foundations introduces hard substrates into areas previously dominated by soft sediments, implying that artificial reef effects may occur, with potential benefits for fisheries. This review focuses on the possibilities for locating fisheries for two commercially important decapods, the brown crab Cancer pagurus and the European lobster Homarus gammarus, within offshore wind farms.
Existing understanding of habitat use by C. pagurus and H. gammarus suggests that turbine foundations have the potential to act as artificial reefs, although the responses of these species to noise and electromagnetic fields are poorly understood. Offshore wind farm monitoring programmes provide very limited information, but do suggest that adult C. pagurus associate with turbine foundations, which may also serve as nursery areas. There was insufficient deployment and monitoring of rock armouring to draw conclusions about the association of H. gammarus with offshore wind farm foundations. The limited information currently available demonstrates the need for further research into the ecological and socio-economic issues surrounding fishery co-location potential.