Safeguarding Marine Protected Areas in the growing Mediterranean Blue Economy - Recommendations for the Offshore Wind Energy sector

Abstract: 

This document, produced by the Pharos4MPAs project, aims to explore how Marine Protected Areas (MPA) could be affected by the offshore wind energy sector, and provides a set of practical recommendations to avoid or minimise its environmental impact.

Sea Basin(s): 
Year: 
June 2019
Application in MSP: 
Unknown effect
Sectors: 
Nature protection
Offshore renewable energy production
Type of Issue: 
Coexistence of uses
Economic aspects
Environment aspects
Type of practice: 
Guidance
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Analyse spatial aspects
Develop and implement plan
Cross-border / trans-national aspect: 
Yes
Coherence with other processes: 
Habitats and Birds Directive
Renewable Energy Directive

QUESTIONS THIS PRACTICE MAY HELP ANSWER:

  • What are the environmental impacts of offshore wind farms (OWF) on marine ecosystems?
  • What are the best ways to avoid the environmental impacts of offshore wind farms?
  • How should public authorities, MPA managers and the offshore wind farm business sector collaborate concerning the coexistence of OWFs and MPAs?

IMPLEMENTATION CONTEXT:

The recommendations were developed within the Pharos4MPAs project to present practical guidelines addressing the potential interactions between offshore wind farms and MPAs.

ASPECTS / OBJECTIVES:

The PHAROS4MPAs project explores how Mediterranean MPAs are affected by activities in the growing Blue Economy, and provides a set of practical recommendations for regional stakeholders on how the environmental impacts of key sectors can be prevented or minimised.

METHOD:

In taking into account the different roles and objectives of public authorities, MPA managers and the OWF sector, this document presents practical recommendations which address the potential interactions between OWFs and MPAs. The guidelines are informed by an ‘Avoid - Mitigate - Compensate’ approach. There is more detail on these recommendations, including the case studies presented, in the capitalisation baseline report prepared to provide exhaustive background information to this research.

MAIN OUTPUTS / RESULTS:

The document provides an overview of environmental impacts of offshore wind farms on marine ecosystems, followed by technical recommendations and best available regulations to avoid and mitigate those impacts. An extensive study provides the assessment of impacts on:

  • Fish;
  • Marine mammals;
  • Birds;
  • Bats;
  • Sea turtles.

As well as the mitigation of

  • Noise;
  • Light;
  • Habitat loss;
  • Bird collisions;
  • Collisions with vessels;
  • Waste;
  • Electronic fields and temperature.

The document ends with a number of recommendations regarding the interactions between public and private actors in the OWF sector and MPA managers.

TRANSFERABILITY:

While recommendations relate to the impacts of offshore wind farms on MPA in the Mediterranean Sea, the model and method could potentially be applied in other regions.

Responsible Entity:

Pharos4MPAs project.

Funding Source:

Interreg MED Programme 2014-2020

Contact person:

Project coordinator:

Catherine Piante

WWF-France

6 Rue de Fabres 13001 Marseille

E-mail: cpiante@wwf.fr

Ph.: +33 4 96116946