SMRU Consulting are proud to announce that the draft Annex IV State of the Science Report is released today. Our Technical Director Dr Carol Sparling co-authored Chapter 3: Collision Risk for Animals around Tidal Turbines, with input from our North American Operations Manager, Dr Jason Wood.

This new report is an update to the previous Annex IV report released in 2013. It was great for us to be part of this collaboration between 13 countries and to help increase our collective understanding of the environmental effects of devices on the marine environment. This report can help inform regulatory and research work on the potential risks to marine animals and can aid developers to minimise the risk and effect of encounters with marine animals.

The marine mammal part of the chapter includes sections on the following:

  • Definitions for key terms such as encounter, collision, evasion, macro & meso avoidance.
  • A conceptual framework for understanding the risk of animals colliding with tidal devices – from animal density and strike probability to population consequences.
  • Updates to the monitoring that has occurred since the 2013 report and identification of the projects that are in development which will involve monitoring marine mammals in close range around tidal turbines.
  • Baseline studies where information such as the density and behaviour of marine mammals has been investigated at specific sites to help predict collision risk.
  • Types of collision risk models that have been used and what information they incorporate. Outline of the key  information required to allow for robust quantitative predictions of collision risk.
  • How Adaptive Management and Mitigation Measures have been used to allow projects to develop despite uncertainty surrounding collision risk.
  • Overview of the methodologies and equipment that have been implemented at various project sites to understand the issue of collision risk, such as: PAM, sonar, cameras, tags.
  • Explanation of the critical uncertainties that remain such as observations and measurements of animal movement around operational tidal turbines.
  • Recommendations – this outlines the priority research areas, the priorities for future monitoring and the priorities for development of methods and equipment.

The report can be found here.

The report is open for public comment before it is made final. Please see the Annex IV website for details on how to provide comments.