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Changes to fishing practices around the UK as a result of the development of offshore windfarm - Phase 1

The Crown Estate   


This study, conducted by the National Federation of Fisherman’s Organisations (NFFO) in the UK, on behalf of the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), provides insights on the effects of the Offshore Wind Farms (OWF) on fishing practices in UK waters. Conducted in 2016, the study became a major reference tool on the issue relating to the UK specificities in regard to the offshore wind. Indeed, the UK is both Europe's largest offshore wind energy producer, and the only European country where fishing is not prohibited within OWF. The study highlights fishermen's perceptions of OWF, as well as resulting changes in fishing practices. It shows that OWF implementation has led to significant changes in fishing practices in the areas concerned, especially in sea-bed fishing. It also highlights that fishermen, for safety reasons, tend to avoid the vicinity of OWFs even though they are not legally obliged to.

Application in MSP:
Type of Issue:
Type of practice:
Cross-border / trans-national aspect:
Coherence with other processes:
Key words:


  • What are the consequences of offshore wind development on fisheries in the UK?
  • How do UK fishermen perceive the development of OWF in and around their fishing grounds?
  • How can harmony between fisheries and offshore wind energy structures be improved? 


The study was commissioned by the UK's Marine Management Organisation and conducted by the National Federation of Fisherman’s Organisations (NFFO).


The study sought to determine the extent to which fishing activities have been altered by the development of offshore wind farms. If offshore windfarms have had any impact on fishing, the study aimed at determining how. 


The study combined various methods and materials. It incorporated the data on fishing activities (i.e. fish landing obligations, fishing efforts) and information on OWFs from reports. It also included the data from questionnaires and targeted interviews with fishermen, fisheries managers, and wind farm developers. The study followed the methodology applied in social sciences, and combined qualitative and quantitative analysis.


The study identified why changes in fishing activities have occurred and the linkages to the OWF development. The authors highlighted issues corresponding to specific phases of offshore wind farm development. They also proposed solutions to these issues, identified potential initiators of those solutions, and provided recommendations to promote harmony between the two sectors.


The insights on the interactions between fisheries and offshore wind energy, provided in this study, can serve as a basis for improving the interactions between those two sectors in all European countries.

Responsible Entity: 

The National Federation of Fishermen's Organization (NFFO) 

Funding Source: 

Marine Management Organisation - The Crown Estate 

Contact person: 

Mark Gray - The Crown Estate 

Paige-Leanne Stromberg (NFFO) 

Dale Rodmell (NFFO)