This study reports temporal variations in the environmental conditions and the structure of fish assemblages observed in the vicinity of an offshore oil platform and the surrounding seafloor in the North Sea. Multi-seasonal sampling was conducted at a typical large steel jacketed facility, using mid-water fish traps at three different depths (i.e., 10, 50 & 100 m). Commercially important gadoids such as saithe Pollachius virens, haddock Melanogrammus aeglefinus and cod Gadus morhua were the most abundant species, however, the species composition and the relative abundances of the species varied with depth, season and between years. Comparisons with a large-scale bottom trawl survey data suggested highly dynamic and species-specific interactions between fish movements, changing environmental conditions and the physical presence of an offshore platform. Given the number of platforms currently installed across the North Sea, there is a need to identify biological mechanisms behind such dynamic interactions.
Bibliographical noteCopyright © 2015 The Author. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.
The author would like to thank ICES for providing fish and oceanographic data, OSPAR for providing data for offshore structures in the North Sea, and Imants G. Priede, Alan Jamieson, Jim Mair, Inigo Martinez, Michelle Horsfield, Anne Walls and all the crew members of the Miller platform for invaluable advice and support in conducting this fish biology project. This work was coordinated by Oceanlab, University of Aberdeen and supported by the BP Fellowship in Applied Fisheries Programme.
- artificial reefs
- offshore oil/gas platforms
- marine ecology
- anthropogenic influences
- fish assemblages
- North Sea