This chapter focuses on the changes in epibenthos and demersal fish of the soft substrates in and around the C-Power and Belwind wind farm. The time series graphs from Vandendriessche et al. (2015) were extended and scanned for non-parallelisms between reference and wind farm trend lines. Also size distribution graphs were drawn and analysed. The analyses showed differences between wind farm and reference areas for the period 2013-2014. The positive short-term effects from Vandendriessche et al. (2015) seemed to be a reaction of opportunistic species (i.e. common starfish (Asterias rubens), green sea urchin (Psammechinus miliaris), brittle star (Ophiura ophiura)) since the observed effects disappeared shortly after. The positive shortterm effects on plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) and sole (Solea solea) could be explained by natural variations in the ecosystem. The earlier reported signals of a ‘refugium effect’ are no longer observed. The decreasing trend for dab (Limanda limandaAmmodytes tobianus) displayed episodic increases and short-term positive effects on juveniles. No long-term sandeel trends were visible. Long living species were not yet encountered but may get a chance to establish and recover with the expansion of the wind farm area to a large continuous no-trawling area.
|Naam||Environmental impacts of offshore wind farms in the Belgian part of the North Sea: Environmental impact monitoring reloaded.|