Disturbance Effects on the Harbour Porpoise Population in the North Sea (DEPONS) project has yielded some preliminary findings on the effect of offshore wind farm construction on harbour porpoises.
“Although the results should be considered preliminary, the patterns generated by the current version of the DEPONS model did not suggest any clear, long-lasting effects of pile-driving noise on the average porpoise population size and dynamics in the North Sea,” the authors said in the report summary.
Authors say that these preliminary results indicate that the DEPONS model can ultimately become a valuable and powerful modelling platform for use in informing offshore wind farm construction planning.
DEPONS uses data collected from monitoring of the marine mammals and a specially-developed computer modelling programme.
The work is being carried out by expert researchers at the Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Denmark and is spearheaded by Vattenfall, with input from the other partners which, along with Forewind, are Eneco, SMart Wind and East Anglia Offshore Wind.
Image: Erik Christensen