Use of offshore wind power as a renewable energy source is underway in North America with the construction of the pilot, five wind turbine, Block Island Wind Farm, off Rhode Island, USA. Demersal trawl monitoring was conducted in two reference areas and near the wind farm that allowed an examination of whether flatfish abundances, size, and condition differed between baseline, construction, and operation time periods. Seven flatfish, (American plaice Hippoglossoides platessoides, fourspot flounder Paralichthys oblongus, Gulf stream flounder Citharichthys arctifrons, summer flounder Paralichthys dentatus, windowpane flounder Scophthalmus aquosus, winter flounder Pseudopleuronectes americanus, and yellowtail flounder Pleuronectes ferruginea) were collected in the study area. Winter flounder, windowpane and fourspot flounder accounted for 83% of all flatfish collected. Flatfish exhibited spatial and temporal variation in abundance, size, and condition, but this variation was not consistent with either positive or negative effects of wind farm construction or operation. Lower winter flounder abundances during the pile-driving time period and higher abundances during the cable-laying time period in the reference and wind farm areas suggest regionwide population fluctuations occurred. Although noise from pile driving may have been detectable in the reference areas, other flatfish abundances were not lower during this time period. Although no artificial reef effect was found for flatfish, negative impacts from construction activity and wind farm operation also were not evident.
Flatfish habitat use near North America's first offshore wind farm
Title: Flatfish habitat use near North America's first offshore wind farm
September 01, 2018
Journal: Journal of Sea Research
Wilber, D.; Carey, D.; Griffin, M. (2018). Flatfish habitat use near North America's first offshore wind farm. Journal of Sea Research, 139, 24-32.