Oysters Get New Home at Eneco Luchterduinen Offshore Wind Farm

Four oyster tables made of concrete and other material on which live oysters are placed have been installed at the Eneco Luchterduinen offshore wind farm as part of a mission to restore oyster reefs in the Dutch North Sea.

The new oyster table design, which was developed under The Rich North Sea programme by the energy company Eneco and marine contractor Van Oord, is tailored to the conditions at Luchterduinen, with its strong currents and abundance of sand, the companies said.

The tables weigh more than 3,000 kilograms and are weighted at the bottom for extra stability. They are also installed on the scour protection around the turbine which should prevent them from sinking into the sandy seabed.

According to the joint press release, instead of being placed in baskets, the live oysters are, for the first time, glued to the vertical nods in the new design so that they have enough fresh water and oxygen to survive and produce.

The oysters placed on the oyster tables may release larvae next year that can settle on a hard surface, for example on the scour protection around the wind turbines.

The first pilot project to be carried out under The Rich North Sea programme commenced in 2018 at Luchterduinen offshore wind farm, located 23 kilometres off the Dutch coast at Noordwijk aan Zee.

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The pilot involved installing oyster cages and reef cubes at the wind farm, which has been operational since 2015.

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Now, four years later, researchers are installing the new oyster tables, the design which is based on lessons learned from the previous projects at the wind farm.

“It’s important to develop offshore wind farms that do not transgress those limits and that will have a beneficial impact on nature in the North Sea in the future. This project represents an important step in promoting the underwater ecosystem.’“, said Marin van Regteren, Eneco.

Future monitoring missions will focus on the oysters’ growth, survival, and reproduction, the companies said.

“A healthy North Sea is the key to achieving the climate goals. Nature development should be an integral part of every wind farm project”, said Erwin Coolen, The Rich North Sea’s programme director.

Van Oord has also installed oyster beds at the Borssele V offshore wind site in the Dutch sector of the North Sea.

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