Eric Murimi1015815 IHE Delft Institute for Water EducationMSc.
Environmental Science (Environmental Planning andManagement) How has wind farm, oiland gas energy generation influenced seafood production in the North Sea?Introduction Is the integration of energygeneration and seafood production beneficial to the sustainability of foodproduction? There is a conflict of interest between these two industries whichshare the same geographic area. According to (Uhre and Leknes, 2017) when two industries makecompeting claims to exploit resources in the same geographic area, con?icts mayarise. This integration has an impact on the productivity and subsequentsustainability of food production.
Energy generation in this case includes windfarms, oil and gas generation off shore, while food production refers to productiondifferent types of sea life that human beings define as food including fish andshellfish. (Pomeroy, et al., 2016) discuss that, today, over 3billion people worldwide rely on fish for at least 20% of their average percapita intake of animal protein. In some states, fish comprises more than 50%of dietary animal protein. They continue to point out that fishing is thelargest extractive use of wildlife in the world, and fisheries products are theworld’s most widely traded foods, with commerce dominated by the developingcountries. This shows that globally there is a demand for seafood hence thereis need to satisfy this demand. Current situation According to the “Policy Documenton the North Sea 2016 – 2021″ Energy generation in the North Sea contributes to”30% of the gas used in the Netherlands and more than 85% of the oil used inthe Netherlands and approximately 950MW from the wind farms” according to thePolicy report for Netherlands for 2016 to 2021.
The aim of this review is to tryto fill in the knowledge gaps by comparing literature and statistics by examininghow energy generation from wind farms and oil and gas drilling interacts with seafoodproduction. Different literature from the ?elds of energy production, foodproduction, trade and using examples from ?sheries and energy sector. According to the “status ofmarine fish stocks” Of the 186 assessed stocks, around 40% come from theNorth-East Atlantic and Baltic Seas, and the remaining 60% from theMediterranean and Black seas (although some tuna and tuna-like species havestocks in both the North-East Atlantic and Mediterranean seas). Literature review The subject of the foodsustainability from the North Sea has been reviewed for overtime. However, thesubject area has some information gaps that are unexplored. This review triesto find information to fill in this gaps using literature on the subjectcarried out in other area. According to (Swartz, et al.
, 2010) Seafood consumption is on therise. The global per capita seafood consumption has been increasing steadily,from an average of 9.9 kg in the 1960s to 16.7 kg (live weight equivalent) in2006. This increased consumption of seafood can be linked to the population increasethat over the years has been on the rise in the North Atlantic countries andthe entire world. However, this increasing demand for seafood production hasbeen overtime impacted by various challenges due to the integration of the foodproduction industry with various industries. Industrial revolution brought riseto generation of energy; sources including coal, wood and lately fossil fuels i.
e.oil and gas and the latest being wind energy. The demand for energy has comewith impacts on the marine life which in-turn has an impact on food production.Industrial revolution brought rise to generation of energy; sources includingcoal, wood and lately fossil fuels i.e. oil and gas and the latest being windenergy.
The demand for energy has come with impacts on the marine life whichin-turn has an impact on food production. North Sea plays a major role inthe generation of energy of which 30% of gas used in the Netherlands comes fromthe North Sea and over 85% of oil used in the Netherlands comes from the NorthSea. This exploration of oil and gas, which is 93% units of gas extraction and7% units of oil have had notable impacts on the aquatic ecosystem which contributeto the food production. As explained by (Mogaji, et al., 2018) the exploration of crude oilhas had debilitating effects on fisheries and its aquatic ecosystem. Variousstudies showed the inadequate management gap and insensitivity to approach thecolossal damage of oil spill in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
It isagainst this backdrop that arise many fragments of economic woes, suffering anduprising in the region. The fate of freshwater fisheries and its aquaticecosystem, socio-cultural activities of the people, preservation andsustainability of aquatic life, environmental resuscitation, and economicdiversity, among other relating factors in the Niger Delta region of Nigeriaremain bleak. However, there could be hope if stringent bioremediation policiesare implemented, which will involve monitoring, evaluation, and rehabilitationof the affected region by all stakeholders. This shows that there is aninteraction between energy generation and seafood production. This interaction hasan effect on the productivity of food generated from the sea. The petroleumindustry is required by law to conduct its activities in a manner conducive topeaceful co-existence with the ?sheries (Act Relating to Petroleum Activities,1–10). (Uhre and Leknes, 2017). The energy production sectorare required to generate energy and still ensure the sustainability of themarine ecosystem which constitutes part of the food consumed in the world.
The strongest con?icts betweenpetroleum and ?sheries have been over the use of ocean space for seismicexploration. (Olsen, et al., 2016). Development of the oil rigson sea takes up space that would have otherwise been used by fishermen.
Giventhat the oil rigs not only take up space at the drilling sites, the pipelinesto transport the products to land also take up space which reduces fishingarea. The reduction of the fishing area leads to reduced catch by thefishermen. With reduced catch means the produce to the consumer is alsoreduced. Other impacts may include oils spills during drilling or transport, underwaternoise among other impacts. There are disagreements about theenvironmental risks of petroleum development, that is, how to treat worst-casescenarios such as large-scale oil spills, how to value ecological importance andthe importance of socioeconomic effects of petroleum developments Locally asstated by (Olsen, Holen, Hoel,Buhl-Mortensen and Røttingen, 2016). During the drilling of thecrude oil and gas, accidental spills do occur and the effects are adverse on themarine ecosystem. This spills lead to the reduced mortality of fish andshellfish due to the accumulation of hydrocarbons contained in the oilproducts. This reduced mortality has an impact on the catch by the fishermenwhich is in-turn linked to the reduced food production.
In addition to reducedmortality of the fish and shellfish, in case of an oil spill, there is expectedclosure of fishing areas. During this closure, the demand for seafood decreasebecause of changes in consumer perceptions and safety issues related to thespill as stated in (JIR1, 2017)Consumers may raise concern about consumption of seafood from pollutedenvironment hence limiting fishing in areas where oil spills might have happened.For offshore natural gas and oil platform some studies have considered howtheir construction, operation and decommissioning affect the bioaccumulation ofhydrocarbons and their toxicity in biotic and abiotic elements, communitystructure and biodiversity changes and changes in abundance of marine species (Papathanasopoulou, et al.
, 2015)Aquaculture installations arealso likely to suffer from oil spills and are particularly vulnerable sincethey cannot be readily relocated. In addition, cultivation equipment may becontaminated, providing a source for prolonged exposure to hydrocarbons. Inconnection with the Hebei Spirit oil spill in Korea, the contamination ofshellfish cultures was extensive (Wilhelmsson, et al.
, 2013). Oil and oily wastes are an important source of polycyclicaromatic hydrocarbons in the North Sea; they accumulate in the sediment mainlyfrom drill-cuttings and activities around platforms. The associated effects onthe benthic communities include smothering and chronic pollution, which in turncan cause a reduction in the number of sensitive species, an increase inopportunistic species, increased mortality and overall reduction in macro-benthosabundance, and reduced diversity of the whole macro-benthos community (Gray etal. 1990)Other effects include reduced”scope for growth” in shellfish such as mussels, reduced algalconcentrations, increased mortality in early life history stages in fish, and anumber of distorted physiological processes. Apart from the oil and gas exploration,energy demands have led to the exploration of renewable energy in this casewind farms.
The impacts of wind farms can be categorized into two; constructionphase and operation phase. During the construction phase, impacts in the windfarm area and the immediate surroundings are expected to be more numerous andintense but of a shorter duration than the impacts during the operation phase(Vaissière, et al., 2014). Recent research shows thatduring the construction phase, disturbance on the seabed during the piling ofthe wind masts is expected which affects the marine resources. According to (Vaissière, Levrel, Pioch and Carlier, 2014),The seabed is compacted and made denser by the construction work.The benthos (invertebrates like worms and shellfish), seagrass (if any), andspecies living on the bed (e.g. starfish, crabs) are affected when the seabedis dredged before digging into it and during the cable installation that linksoffshore turbines to onshore substations.
Turbidity and material fromstirred-up sediment can impact the benthos and filter feeders. Increased turbidityduring the construction phase does affects organisms that are directlydependent on light, like aquatic plants, because it limits their ability tocarry out photosynthesis. This, in turn, affects other organisms that depend onthese plants for food and oxygen. During the operation phase, electromagnetismhas been identified by studies though not much research has been carried out toconclusively address impacts of electromagnetism on fishMW1 .
Another impact of energygeneration in the North Sea is the generation of underwater noise. This is anissue of concern because much of the marine life species use sound forcommunication, navigation, foraging, avoiding predators, and finding potentialmates. However, according to (Bonar, et al., 2015) impact assessments are limited by a lack ofinformation regarding device performance data and species’ behaviouralresponses.
Little is known about background noise levels, the sound levelsproduced during each stage of development, or how these sounds can affect theability of marine mammals to detect them. Assessment of the impact ofunderwater noise is complex, partly because sound levels vary with devicedesign, array layout, and oceanographic conditions and partly because of thenature of sound transmission underwater, as it is possible that received soundlevels could be higher at certain distant locations than at locations nearer tothe source. Therefore,noise pollution will not only pose a great threat to individual marine organismsbut also may affect the composition, and subsequently the health and servicefunctions of the ecosystem.
For instance, some studies have shown thatanthropogenic noise caused a reduction in the catch rate of some commercialmarine species indicating a decrease in the service function of the ecosystemfor providing fishery products While a considerable amount of furtherresearch is required to assess definitively the ecological impact ofanthropogenic sound on marine life a range of potential impacts have beensuggested. Underwater noise may result in physical harm, temporary or permanenthearing loss, altered behaviours or patterns of movement, loss of habitat,masking of important biological sounds, and increased vulnerability topredation and other hazards. Moreover, noise-induced stress may result inhypertension, hormonal imbalance, and reduced resistance to disease amongmarine mammals, although these effects may be practically impossible to measureAnother key driver is the rising demand for seafood in developedand transitional economies, coupled with declining ability to meet that demanddue to depletion and/or restrictive management of ?sh stocks and restrictionson aquaculture development in those countries.(Crona,et al., 2016)Conclusion Seafood contributed at least 15%of average animal protein consumption to 2.9 billion people worldwide in 2006and ?sheries and aquaculture directly employed 43.
5 million people, with 520million people indirectly deriving their livelihoods from seafood-relatedindustries (Asche, et al., 2015).Population increase over the years has led to theincreased demand for food including seafood. The demand for seafood has been onthe rise for decades where much of it is sold either fresh or canned. The NorthSea is a major source of seafood for the Europe and the worldMW2 .
However, the increasing demandfor seafood is putting pressure on the fisheries resources. Generation of energy from the seahas had positive and negative impacts on marine ecosystem. This impactsinclude; under water noise, availability of space, pollution among others.
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