Ørsted and WWF Working on Offshore Wind-Related Biogenic Reef Project in Danish North Sea
Ørsted and WWF, which teamed up last year to advance offshore wind deployment that enhances ocean biodiversity, have now launched a project that will see one or more biogenic reefs of European flat oysters and horse mussels being established in the Danish North Sea.
The project, named BioReef, is commencing this year and the deployment of the reef(s) is expected to take place in 2027.
As reported in October 2022, Ørsted and WWF last year formed a five-year global partnership to jointly identify, develop, and advocate for offshore wind deployment initiatives and approaches that enhance biodiversity. One of the aims of the two partners is to also bring forward science-based recommendations for how governments can incorporate ocean biodiversity requirements in offshore wind development.
With the BioReef project, Ørsted and WWF plan to fight a drastic decrease in the number and quality of biogenic reefs in the North Sea, which is occurring due to diseases of different species, overfishing, climate change, or changes to the water quality.
The offshore wind developer and the world’s largest nature conservation organisation are carrying out the BioReef project in collaboration with the Technical University of Denmark’s Institute of Aquatic Resources, DTU Aqua, which serves as the project’s scientific partner.
DTU Aqua’s large-scale hatchery and experimental nursery for initial grow-out in northern Denmark are central to the production and deployment of European flat oysters and horse mussels for the BioReef project, Ørsted says. The work in the hatchery will lead to protocols that can be implemented elsewhere to produce seed for similar marine restoration efforts, according to the developer.
In addition to finding new methods for the establishment of reefs, the BioReef project will also produce peer-reviewed scientific papers, protocols, and methods that can be applied in restoration projects around the world.
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BioReef will start this year with the collection of broodstock and screening of locations with historic biogenic reefs in Danish waters.
Next year, the project partners will work on the site selection for the location of the biogenic reef(s) in the Danish North Sea, as well as on the development of hatchery protocols and testing of small reefs in coastal waters.
In 2025/2026, further testing will be conducted in the hatchery and at nearshore grow-out locations, before the biogenic reef(s) are deployed in the Danish North Sea in 2027.
According to Ørsted, the solutions delivered through the BioReef project will support both the company’s ambition to have all renewable energy projects it commissions from 2030 onwards delivering a net-positive biodiversity impact and WWF’s call to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030.
Ingrid Reumert, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Stakeholder Relations at Ørsted said:
“This is an exciting project – it will provide ecosystem services to the marine environment, increase biodiversity, and improve water quality in the North Sea. Together with WWF, we want to set a new standard for biodiversity enhancement in offshore wind development and further marine nature protection and restoration, as well as encourage others to join us in creating a net-positive impact on ocean biodiversity”.
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