Hans Slabbekoorn receives NWA grant to study fish around wind farms in North Sea

The Dutch Research Council (NWO) awarded behavioural biologist Hans Slabbekoorn (Institute of Biology Leiden) a grant of 750,000 euros to research fish and sounds around wind farms in the North Sea.

As part of the Dutch Research Agenda (NWA), NWO has honoured a total of three studies within the NWA programme Ecology and North Sea. Behavioural biologist Hans Slabbekoorn from the Institute of Biology Leiden (IBL) is one of the successful applicants. He leads a consortium with partners from Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway. A total of 750,000 euros has been allocated for the study Acoustic ecology of pelagic fish communities (APELAFICO): a study into the effects of construction and operation of wind farms.

Slabbekoorn and partners will investigate which pelagic fish – fish that do not depend on proximity to bottom or coastline – live around working windmills and windmills under construction, and what behavior they display. This will be done using sonar images. The researchers will also study responses to sounds in captive and free-ranging fish. The aim here is to improve the acoustic deterrent device Faunaguard to drive the fish out of the danger zones with pile driving for windmills.

A total of 2.8 million euros has been made available within the NWA for research into issues surrounding ecology and wind farms in the North Sea. The basic funding comes from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.

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