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Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

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Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

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Global interest in report on impacts of marine renewable energy on whales and dolphins

While generating increasing amounts of energy from marine renewable sources such as wind, wave or tides could help reduce our overreliance on fossil fuels, marine renewable energy developments (MREDs) that are designed, placed, built, operated and decommissioned without a thought for their potential impact on local whale and dolphin populations could prove disastrous. 

To highlight the potential impacts posed to whales and dolphins by current and future MREDs, WDC published a report in late 2013 entitled Marine Renewable Energy: A Global Review of the Extent of Marine Renewable Energy Developments, the Developing Technologies and Possible Conservation Implications for Cetaceans

This report is aimed at governments, MRED developers and other key parties in the marine renewable energy industry. It has proved highly popular, with requests for copies of the report coming from Canada, the USA, China and Uruguay, and from governments, charities, offshore renewable developers and students worldwide.

It’s no surprise that there should be an avid global audience for such a report – while MREDs have until recent years mostly been located in European waters, more recently China and the USA have seen accelerating expansions of MREDs in their waters too.

Feedback from readers of the report has been gratifyingly positive, with readers stating, for example, that ‘we have needed for years a report that brings all this information into one place’ and ‘this is extremely useful’. Readers say they particularly appreciate the detail of the results of current research and the recommendations for governments and developers.

Off the back of the report, developers and governmental organisations have been contacting WDC to arrange meetings and to seek further advice, particularly regarding mitigation measures and monitoring of whales and dolphins in development areas.

WDC supports the development of marine renewable energy and recommends that it is located away from critical and important areas for whales, dolphins and porpoises to avoid negatively impacting them.