7.1.8. Proposed Approach to the Environmental Impact Assessment

  1. The Commercial Fisheries chapter of the Array EIA Report will follow the methodology set out in section 4. Firstly, the baseline will be expanded upon the information presented in Appendix 10, using the desktop data available for ICES Rectangles which the Array overlaps. Additional data will be requested via liaison with stakeholders, which will include greater detail on EU fishing within the vicinity of the commercial fisheries study area, and Norwegian datasets that were unavailable at the time of writing. A dedicated FLO is currently being appointed;               they will be responsible for leading the stakeholder engagement. The assessment of potential impacts in the Array EIA Report will use below standard guidance in particular:
  • Good Practice Guidelines for Assessing Fisheries Displacement by other Licensed Marine Activities (Marine Scotland, 2022c);
  • FLOWW Best Practice Guidance for Offshore Renewables Development: Recommendations for Fisheries Liaison (FLOWW, 2014);
  • FLOWW Best Practice Guidance for Offshore Renewables Developments: Recommendations for Fisheries Disruption Settlements and Community Funds (FLOWW, 2015);
  • Best Practice Guidelines for fishing industry financial and economic impact assessments (Sea Fish Industry Authority and United Kingdom Fisheries Economic Network (UKFEN), 2012);
  • Options and Opportunities for Marine Fisheries Mitigation Associated with Wind Farms (Blyth-Skyme, 2010); and
  • Fishing and Submarine Cables – Working Together (International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC), 2009).
  1. The Commercial Fisheries chapter of the Array EIA Report will also consider new guidance and updates to existing guidance where applicable.

7.1.9. Potential Cumulative Effects

  1. There is potential for cumulative effects upon commercial fisheries as a result of other projects or activities in the vicinity of the Array, such as the construction and operation of the Proposed offshore export cable corridor(s) and Proposed onshore export cable corridor(s), other offshore wind farms, commercial shipping, and oil and gas activity. The projects or activities included in the cumulative effects assessment may vary depending on the fishery being assessed (e.g. depending on the extent of the fishing grounds and operational range of vessels).
  2. The scope of the cumulative effects assessment will include the North Sea ICES Divisions 4a, 4b and 4c (see Figure 7.1   Open ▸ ) and associated sites that have been designated for relevant commercial fisheries features.
  3. The cumulative effects assessment will follow the approach outlined in section 4.3.7.

7.1.10. Potential Transboundary Impacts

  1. A screening of transboundary impacts has been carried out and is presented in Appendix 3. This screening exercise identified that there is the potential for transboundary impacts upon commercial fisheries due to construction, operational and maintenance, and decommissioning impacts of the Array. These include:
  • temporary loss or restricted access to fishing grounds;
  • long term loss or restricted access to fishing grounds;
  • displacement of fishing activity into other areas;
  • interference with fishing activity;
  • increased snagging risk, which could result in loss or damage to fishing gear;
  • increased steaming times; and
  • potential impacts on commercially exploited species.

7.1.11. Scoping Questions to Consultees

  • Do you agree that the existing data available to describe the commercial fisheries baseline remains sufficient to describe the physical environment in relation to the Array and are there any additional datasets you would recommend (please see Appendix 10, Table 10.1)?
  • Do you agree with the designed in measures described for the potential effects of the Array on commercial fisheries receptors?
  • Do you agree that all potential impacts have been identified for commercial fisheries receptors ( Table 7.4   Open ▸ )?; and
  • Do you agree with the potential transboundary impacts presented in section 7.1.10?

7.1.12. Next Steps

  1. The baseline will be characterised further, which will include collation of data sources from a wider range (including non-UK fishing activity that was unavailable at the time of writing).
  2. Consultation and engagement with stakeholders are on-going and will continue as such throughout the application process. Details on the proposed next steps in relation to consultation are provided in section 4.3.8. The process for post-Scoping consultation is presented in the dSEP in Appendix 1.
  3. In particular, in identifying suitable mitigation measures during the EIA process, the Applicant will consider types of fishing within the site boundary and will engage with the wider fishing industry to seek broad agreement of such mitigation.