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Offshore white noise 'shields' whales

Acoustic deterrents help protect Minke species during offshore construction

Offshore white noise 'shields' whales image

A study by the Offshore Renewables Joint industry Programme (ORJIP) has found that acoustic deterrent devices (ADDs) are effective tools in protecting minke whales from the impact of increased noise during offshore wind farm construction. 

The study, which was backed by Innogy, Orsted and Statoil, was managed by the Carbon Trust and found that minke whales clearly responded to the ADDs by increasing their swim speed away from the devices. 

Previous studies have demonstrated that ADDs effectively deter seals and the harbour porpoise and the latest research aimed to fill a knowledge gap.

Underwater noise levels increase during wind farm construction, particularly during pile driving for foundation installation.

“The ability to use active acoustic systems to create a temporary safety exclusion zone around the turbine is a useful addition to the suite of mitigation options for wind farms developers,” the researchers said.

In a joint statement Innogy, Statoil and Orsted said: “We are pleased to see that these trials have increased the evidence base proving the efficacy of ADDs in deterring marine mammals.”

ORJIP ADD project manager Olivia Burke said: “The findings will help increase industry and regulator confidence in the use of ADDs to actively manage the protection of marine mammals during the piling phase of construction.”

Image: Minke Whale (Wild Scotland)

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