Researchers from Marine Scotland Science (MSS) and the University of Aberdeen (UoA) have completed a multi-disciplinary survey within the Moray Firth wind farm sites in the second week of June, Marine Scotland said in a statement dated July 17.
The aim of the survey was to characterise the distribution of prey species such as fish schools and zooplankton patches across the Smith Bank in relation to data available on top predator distribution.
The survey was conducted using Marine Scotland’s research vessel Alba-Na-Mara. Equipment utilised for the survey included a pelagic fishing net for catching mid-water sandeels, a plankton sampling net, a three-frequency echo-sounder to capture acoustic traces of mid-water fish species, water sampling equipment to investigate the phytoplankton at the bottom and middle of the water column, and hydrographic equipment to capture temperature, salinity and depth
The data collected will complement the Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm (BOWL) post-construction digital aerial surveys for seabirds (summer 2019) and University of Aberdeen studies being conducted as part of the Moray Firth Marine Mammal Monitoring Programme (MMMP).
The areas targeted by the study include BOWL which is fully constructed, the Moray East Offshore Wind Farm (MEOW) which is under construction, and the Moray West Offshore Wind Farm (MWOW) which is still to begin construction.
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