ORJIP Herring Study

As part of the Offshore Renewables Joint Industry Programme (ORJIP), the Carbon Trust Advisory Limited (the Carbon Trust) contracted GoBe to undertake a review of the potential effects of percussive impact piling during the construction of offshore wind farms, on spawning herring and thus the North Sea herring stocks.

GoBe applied their experience in project planning and post-consent compliance and the specialist knowledge of herring ecology and distribution to meet the objectives of the project.

The project deliverables were published in the final report and covered the following key points:

  • Review of available herring populations data sources, its availability and potential for error, including maps showing the population and spawning grounds of herring and herring spawning densities;
  • Review the sources of potential impact associated with percussive piling at OWFs on herring, the resulting potential for effect, the potential for uncertainty in an assessment of impact and how the significance of that impact is determined (locally and nationally);
  • Describe how the potential for impact has been mitigated in various projects, including the available mitigation methods, the benefits and drawbacks of these, the uncertainty behind the methods and how successful or appropriate each measure is (or is expected to be).
  • Present a gap analysis identifying where gaps exist in the baseline data, the understanding of the potential for impact (and the significance and certainty of that impact), the type and effectiveness of available mitigation, and the level of certainty behind each of these (including the implications of that uncertainty);
  • Describe the current understanding of any regulations, guidance and advice that is applicable to herring and OWF development, as identified through the literature searches undertaken, but also from the stakeholder consultation exercise; and,
  • The report then presents how the findings could be applied at a project level by describing the findings in relation to a hypothetical test case.