Marine energy devices must be attached to the seafloor by their foundations, pilings, or anchors, and will have other parts in the water column like the devices themselves, mooring lines, and power export cables running along the seafloor. The installation and presence of these artificial structures will create physical changes that can disrupt or create new habitats, and potentially alter the behavior of mobile organisms such as fish around a device by attracting them to these new artificial reefs and fish aggregating devices. In this study, we tested a new approach for monitoring fish activity around a marine energy device anchor: a 360-degree underwater camera to keep the target (a wave energy converter’s anchor) in the field of view of the camera. The camera was deployed in three configurations (hand-held, tripod, video lander) at sites with different hydrodynamics and underwater visibilities. The video lander was the best configuration: very stable, versatile, and easy to handle. The 360-degree field of view enabled observing and counting fishes, which were more abundant at dusk than dawn or noon, around the anchor. Despite remaining challenges, 360-degree cameras are useful tools for monitoring animal interactions with marine energy devices.
This article is part of the Special Issue, "Technology and Methods for Environmental Monitoring of Marine Renewable Energy".