Leave anthropogenic structures in place after decommissioning
Overall effectiveness category No evidence found (no assessment)
Number of studies: 0
Background information and definitions
Anthropogenic structures on the sea floor, such as pipelines, cable routes, wind turbines and oil rigs, may form ‘artificial reefs’ as they are colonised by marine invertebrates and provide breeding grounds and shelter for fish. This may provide a foraging resource for predatory marine mammals, such as porpoises and seals (e.g. Dähne et al. 2014, Arnould et al. 2015). Leaving such structures in place after decommissioning may therefore be beneficial to some marine mammal species. However, artificial reefs may also act as ‘ecological traps’ for mammal prey, attracting species to less favourable habitats leading to a decrease in fitness (Russell et al. 2014).
Arnould J.P.Y., Monk J., Ierodiaconou D., Hindell M.A., Semmens J., Hoskins A.J., Costa D.P., Abernathy K. & Marshall G.J. (2015) Use of anthropogenic sea floor structures by Australian fur seals: potential positive ecological impacts of marine industrial development? PLOS ONE, 10, e0130581.
Dähne M., Peschko V., Gilles A., Lucke K., Adler S., Ronnenberg K. & Siebert U. (2014) Marine mammals and windfarms: effects of alpha ventus on harbour porpoises. Pages 133–149 in: Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation & Nuclear Safety (eds.) Ecological Research at the Offshore Windfarm alpha ventus: Challenges, Results and Perspectives. Springer, Wiesbaden.
Russell D.J.F., Brasseur S.M.J.M., Thompson D., Hastie G.D., Janik V.M., Aarts G., McClintock B.T., Matthiopoulos J., Moss S.E.W. & McConnell B. (2014) Marine mammals trace anthropogenic structures at sea. Current Biology, 24, 638–639.