Action: Bury cables and pipelines in the seabed rather than laying them on the seabed
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
- We found no studies that evaluated the effects of burying cables and pipelines in the seabed rather than laying them on the seabed on subtidal benthic invertebrate populations.
‘We found no studies’ means that we have not yet found any studies that have directly evaluated this intervention during our systematic journal and report searches. Therefore, we have no evidence to indicate whether or not the intervention has any desirable or harmful effects.
Communication and power cables, and oil and gas pipelines, can impact subtidal benthic invertebrates through physical damage and habitat loss. The burial process could be planned ahead of installation, or at a later stage following the lay-out of the cable or pipeline, with the aim of reducing physical impacts on the seabed and on subtidal benthic invertebrates (Kraus & Carter 2018). This may allow natural sediment to cover the cables or pipelines, thereby recreating a suitable habitat, and potentially allowing recolonization by subtidal benthic invertebrates. Evidence related to the burial of pipelines instead of rock dumping are summarised under “Threat: Energy production and mining – Bury pipelines instead of surface laying and rock dumping”. Evidence related to promoting biodiversity around subsea cables and pipelines are summarised under “Habitat restoration and creation – Cover subsea cables with artificial reefs” and “Cover subsea cables with materials that encourage the accumulation of natural sediments”.
Kraus C. & Carter L. (2018) Seabed recovery following protective burial of subsea cables - Observations from the continental margin. Ocean Engineering, 157, 251–261.