Species of shrimp unique to Dutch waters found in Borssele Offshore Wind Farm

During a biodiversity monitoring in the offshore wind farm Borssele, the orange pistol shrimp was found in a sample. This is a species of shrimp not previously found in Dutch waters.

In wind farm Borssele, The Rich North Sea (De Rijke Noordzee) is working with wind farm owner Blauwwind to develop oyster reefs and restore underwater nature. Four years ago, oysters were deposited around the foundation base of wind turbines. The oysters sit in so-called oyster tables, which over time are overgrown with all kinds of animal species. Research is regularly conducted to see how nature develops on and around the tables.

During a monitoring, researchers came across an orange pistol shrimp in one of the samples taken from an oyster table. These samples were examined by research firm Eurofins AquaSense. The orange pistol shrimp has been observed only once before in the North Sea, in English territory, off the mouth of the Thames in 2007 and just west of the Strait of Dover in 2014. The orange pistol shrimp is more common in the western and central Channel.

Climate change and wind farms

It is possible that the movement of this species into the Dutch North Sea is a result of climate change. Presumably the larvae moved with the sea currents and then settled in the wind farm. The researchers expect a larger population to live in the wind farm. These animals thrive in an environment with lots of stones, such as wind farms, where they feel at home at the base of turbines and around the scour protection stones.

Cooperation between Nature & Environment and the North Sea Foundation

The Rich North Sea is an initiative of environmental organization Natuur & Milieu and The North Sea Foundation. It was initiated with the aim to strengthen nature in and around offshore wind farms. By now, The Rich North Sea conducts research and pilots in six wind farms. The Rich North Sea is active along the entire Dutch coast. At all locations, there is intensive cooperation with wind farm owners, energy producers and scientists. Source: De Rijke Noordzee Image: Marco Faasse

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