Scientists at Ghent University have sighted young cod swimming around the foundation of a wind turbine in the Belgium part of the North Sea. The discovery could indicate that cod numbers might benefit from wind farms in the sea.
Atlantic cod stocks were severely overfished in the 1970s and ’80s, leading to their abrupt collapse in 1992. Greenpeace added the Atlantic cod to its seafood red list in 2010. This is a list of fish that are commonly sold in supermarkets around the world, and which have a very high risk of being sourced from unsustainable fisheries. Despite mandatory catch quotas the number of cods still remain low. Some scientists plead for a ban on fishing cod.
Ghent scientists have been monitoring the impact of the wind farm on fish stocks since 2008. The cod and the pout (a small fish belonging to the cod family) were being sighted shortly after the installation of the wind turbines. After one year already 30,000 pouts per wind turbine had been sighted on the Thorntonbank wind farm. Recently other species like lemon sole, red mullet and plaice were also encoutered. The young cod now discovered is usually hard to find in this part of the North Sea. This could be an indication that the environment of the wind turbines, which is a no- fishing zone, can serve as a cod nusery.
Sponges, polyps and mussels that all provide food for the fish, grow in abundance on the foundations of the wind turbines. Young fish can grow up there in a sheltered environment and away from their natural predators. The findings are good news for those concerned with the depletion of North Sea fish stocks. Although according to scientists full recovery of cod stocks can not be expected in the short term.
Via: Expatica.com and Energeia.nl