Win-Wind project investigates crab and lobster fishing in Prinses Amalia Wind Farm

Fishing experiments are taking place in Princess Amalia Wind Farm (PAWP) this summer. Special pots will be set out to catch crabs and lobsters and then measure the catch. This project, ‘Win-Wind’ led by Wageningen Marine Research, is investigating the possibilities for co-use of offshore wind farms by fishermen.

A total of ten test days will take place this summer. An existing crab fisher is conducting the tests. The entire catch is measured and returned to the sea. In the process, the North Sea crabs and European lobsters are tagged: a tag with a unique number and the project’s contact information. The recapture of a tagged animal can be used to calculate the size of the local population, among other things.

Fisherman earnings

It also looks at the catch per basket per day. This can be used to calculate what a fisherman could potentially earn. Catches in this relatively old wind farm PAWP are also compared with catches in the new wind farm Borssele, where tests were carried out in the same season last year.

Pots have since been released once in PAWP, and twice retrieved and immediately released. Fishing is done with six lines with five pots each attached, in the southwest corner of PAWP. Ideally, the pots are left in the water for 48 hours, after which they are retrieved and the catch can be viewed. This requires good weather conditions and wave heights lower than 1 meter.

“Win-Wind” project

The tests are part of the final research phase of the larger “Win-Wind” project. This project is looking at the feasibility of fishing in wind farms and whether it could offer prospects for fishermen in the future. Considerations included safety, prevention of (cable) damage and economic feasibility for fishermen. For example, previous studies and tests have examined the probability of mobilization of lines with pots and the possible damage caused by anchors on subsea cables. It follows that the likelihood of so-called “Bruce” anchors moving out of place is low. In addition, the potential damage such an anchor could cause was found to be negligible. The results of the tests now being done in PAWP are expected to be published by the end of this year.

The consortium

The Win-Wind consortium consists of Wageningen Research Foundation and a fishing cluster. The project is funded by Topconsortia voor Kennis en Innovatie (TKI) Wind op Zee. Additional parts have also been funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.

Agreements have been made with Eneco about risk mitigation and implementation of the activities, among other things. Rijkswaterstaat Zee en Delta and the Ministry of Agriculture Nature and Food Quality have given the Win-Wind consortium conditional permission to conduct tests within the PAWP safety zone. Image: Marcel Rozemeijer, Wageningen Marine Research

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