PELAgIO-EcoNex Fisheries Displacement Workshop

On the 21st of February 2024, a workshop was conducted at the Orsted office in London, as part of the NERC ECOWind/PELAgIO and UKERC EcoNex projects, during which ecosystem modelling (Dynamic Bayesian Network) outputs from fisheries displacement scenarios in the context of climate change and offshore wind energy development were showcased. The workshop was attended by the fishing industry (The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association and the Scottish White Fish Producers Association), representatives of government (e.g., MMO, JNCC, Marine Directorate, The Crown Estate, Natural England and NatureScot) and renewables industry (Renewables UK, Orsted, Scottish Southern Energy).

The objectives of the workshop were to showcase the process of the ecosystem modelling with the combined and cumulative effects of climate change, wind energy extraction and displacement scenarios along with preliminary findings from a fishing industry led questionnaire on the impacts of offshore wind farms on commercial fishing. The workshop also introduced finer-scale spatial tools that allows prediction of changes in species distributions and that can feed into habitat risk assessment models (i.e. Stanford InVEST model). All the outputs can also feed into natural capital approaches that we will be applying later in the year as the projects progress. The presented material and ensuing discussions were well received, attendees were evidently interested by the outputs, and valuable feedback was provided that can be incorporated into future works.

There was an appreciation of the complexity of the modelling approaches but also a clear understanding of the usefulness and value of using data-driven evidence to support complex decision-making. As the PELAgIO and EcoNex projects progresses, future updates will be further discussed and communicated by the ECOWind and UKERC Programmes.

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