Scientists Say Black Sea Bass Behavior Could Be Affected by Offshore Wind

WOODS HOLE – Scientists from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center say that offshore wind energy construction could affect the behavior of Black Sea Bass.

Black Sea Bass live up and down the east coast from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico, providing a significant ecological and economic importance.

The fish are also attracted to structurally complex habitats, often found around rocky reefs, mussel beds, cobble and rock fields, and artificial habitats like shipwrecks.

Scientists, commercial and recreational fisherman have expressed their concerns about how the sounds that come with the development of offshore wind energy overlapping with the natural habitats of Black Sea Bass.  

Construction of offshore wind farms relies on pile-driving, which emits high intensity, intermittent and impulsive sounds known to trigger responses in other species of fish.

The studies so far have found that sound recordings caused the bass to spend less time at the surface of the water. The study furthered showed that as soon as the recordings came on, the fish would swim downwards, move closer together, and pivot.

While these findings only represent one phase of an entire study, the team plans to determine the hearing thresholds of the fish over the next year and observe other significant ecological effects of exposure to prolonged pile-driving sounds.  

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