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Seal monitoring and evaluation for the Gemini offshore windpark: Pre-construction, T0 - 2014 report

  • Brasseur, S.M.J.M.
  • Kirkwood, R.J.
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2015
Wageningen University and Researchcenter Publications
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Two species of seals live in Dutch waters: the grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) and the harbour seal (Phoca vitulina). Although hauling out on near-shore tidal sandbanks, both species forage predominantly in the North Sea. Anthropogenic activities within the North Sea have the potential to overlap with the movement and habitat use of the seals, and alter the habitat available to them. The Gemini offshore windpark project represents the fourth windpark development in the Dutch North Sea coastal zone. In the construction permit issued by the Dutch government for Gemini windpark, seal monitoring was requested. The primary aim of seal monitoring was to collect data on habitat use by the seals in the North Sea coastal zone, and investigate if construction and operation of the Gemini windpark influences this habitat use. Results of the monitoring show that although overlap with the windpark appeared strongest for grey seals, it is realised that in the eastern Dutch Wadden Sea, harbour seals greatly outnumber grey seals. Hence, it cannot be determined which species would occur with the greatest prevalence within the windpark.

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