Four so-called oyster tables have been installed in Luchterduinen offshore wind farm. By installing these innovative oyster tables, The Rich North Sea, Eneco, and Van Oord, are working to restore oyster reefs in the North Sea that are so important for underwater ecosystems.
At Eneco’s Luchterduinen wind farm, 23 kilometres off the coast near Noordwijk aan Zee, the first The Rich North Sea pilot started in 2018. Oyster cages and reef balls were deployed in the farm, which has been in operation since 2015, for this purpose.
Now, four years later, researchers are installing new oyster tables, structures made of concrete and other materials on which live oysters are placed, which were developed based on lessons learned from previous projects within the wind farm. The oyster tables have an innovative design, which involved four years of research. This design has never been deployed before. This gives the wind farm a global first.
The new design of the oyster tables was specially made for conditions such as prevailing in wind farm Luchterduinen, where there are high current speeds and lots of sand. The new tables, which weigh over three thousand kilos, are extra stable due to the weight at the bottom. The oyster tables are also placed on the rocks around the bottom of the wind turbine foundation. This prevents the tables from sinking into the sandy seabed. In the new design, for the first time the live oysters are glued to vertical poles, instead of being placed in baskets. This gives them enough fresh water and oxygen to survive and reproduce.
Helping restore oyster reefs
Next year, the oysters placed on the oyster tables could release larvae that can settle on hard surfaces, such as the stone paving around the wind turbines. Giving oysters a helping hand around wind turbines in wind farms creates the chance for oyster reefs to develop. Future monitoring missions will therefore focus on the growth, survival and reproduction of oysters.
Luchterduinen wind farm
Wind farm Luchterduinen is located about 23 kilometres off the coast near Noordwijk aan Zee. With 43 Vestas V112 wind turbines, the wind farm has an installed capacity of 129MW. The wind farm was commissioned in 2015. Shareholders are Eneco and Japan’s INPEX. Source: Eneco