Van Oord installed reef balls and cages with flat oysters within North Sea wind farm
Van Oord installed, in cooperation with the North Sea Foundation, the Natuur & Milieu organisation and Eneco, reef balls and cages containing flat oysters within the Luchterduinen offshore wind farm, 23 kilometres west of the Dutch port city of IJmuiden. The “Rich North Sea” project will investigate how nature conservation and sustainable energy generation can reinforce one another, the company said in its press release.
Van Oord’s installation vessel Ham 602 took the reef structures out from IJmuiden and positioned them at a depth of approximately 20 metres within Eneco’s Luchterduinen wind farm. The artificial reef includes reef balls and cages containing adult oysters. The total area for this pilot project is 3 hectares (100×300m).
Until 2022, nature development within the wind farm will be scientifically investigated by Waardenburg Consultants, SAS Consultancy, and Wageningen Marine Research, including using underwater cameras. The aim is to determine whether the oysters grow and reproduce sufficiently, and whether their larvae establish themselves in the vicinity and form a reef. Natural reefs play an important role, filtering water and acting as an attachment point and source of food. Unfortunately, such reefs hardly exist any longer in the North Sea due to human intervention and diseases. During the pilot project, the participating organisations will investigate the optimum underwater conditions to enable nature to thrive within offshore wind farms.