Updating Fisheries Sensitivity Maps in British Waters

Open Access Report 2014

Marine Scotland

The requirement to display sensitive areas relating to the life history of commercially important fish species in British waters is well recognized. Sensitive areas have previously been described as spawning and nursery grounds. Here we consider only areas where there is evidence of aggregations of 0 group fish and/or larvae of key commercial species. 0 group fish are defined as fish in the first year of their lives. These fish sensitivity maps were originally generated to provide a spatial and temporal description of where physical damage could potentially occur to fish species at sensitive stages in essential habitats of their life cycle. Sources of damage in this context referred to seismic surveying conducted by the offshore Oil and Gas industry during their site investigations. In addition to the acoustic energy that the seismic survey activities generate, we should now add other percussive impact noises from pile-driving seabed foundation pins into the seabed, such as those required for offshore renewable energy sites. The spatial location of these fish life history events and their potential interaction with offshore industries can heavily influence the planning, costs and delivery of these offshore developments. It is imperative that these maps reflect the current extent of these areas.

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