chapter  10
Capturing benefits
Opportunities for the co-location of offshore energy and fisheries
ByTara Hooper, Matthew Ashley, Melanie Austen
Pages 25

The infrastructure required for offshore energy creates new substrata that provide settlement surfaces for a range of benthic species. These artificial reef effects are well-documented, and there is growing evidence that the enhanced prey availability and shelter can attract species of interest to commercial and recreational fishers, creating potential co-location opportunities. The exclusion of towed bottom gears from the proximity of energy installations due to concerns about safety and infrastructure damage creates further opportunities for static gear and small-scale fishers. However, even for these groups, taking advantage of fishing opportunities might not be straightforward in practice. We review the ecological evidence supporting the potential for energy infrastructure to enhance fisheries, considering which target fish and shellfish species appear to benefit, at which stage in their lifecycle, and whether there is evidence for any contribution to fisheries production, as opposed to the simple attraction of individuals from elsewhere. We also discuss the socio-economic issues related to the potential exploitation of any enhanced fishery resource, considering the attitudes, opinions, and existing practice of fishers, boat skippers and developers with respect to such factors as the feasibility, safety, and economic viability of co-location. We also review the possibilities for the co-location of aquaculture as an alternative to capture fisheries. We conclude by considering how this information on the potential for fishery and aquaculture co-location might be incorporated into future marine spatial planning.