Environmental data is crucial for planning, permitting, execution and post construction monitoring of marine renewable energy projects. In harsh conditions in which marine renewable energy is harvested, integrated monitoring platforms comprising multibeam imaging sonar systems coupled with other sensors can provide multiparametric data of the marine environment surrounding marine renewable energy installations. The aim of this study was to test the possibilities of observing the occurrence of fish and marine mammals using a multibeam imaging sonar system deployed at a wave power test site. The results obtained from a ten-day data set proved the platform as suitable for long time underwater monitoring and also revealed that the occurrence of fish and marine mammals was distributed across characteristic time and space domains. Large fish [>0.4 m] frequently occurred at night-time and near the benthic zone. Small fish [<0.2 m] frequently occurred during daylight and within the pelagic zone. The occurrence of seals was periodically distributed along a daily cycle, with intervals of 1–2 hours between maxima and minima. In conclusion, the use of multibeam imaging sonar can be a reliable technique for the qualitative and quantitative observations of fish and marine mammals in general and at marine renewable energy sites specifically, including protected and economically important species.