Letter to the Editor: Diel vertical migration should be considered in offshore wind

DEAR News Of The Area,

A RECENT article in Renew Economy contained a statement that separate research has determined that the effect on ocean habitats from the development of offshore wind farms is minimal.

I draw the Federal Government’s attention to a phenomenon called diel vertical migration which occurs at depths between 200 metres and about 1000 metres (where offshore wind farms are proposed to be built) in which small fish, phytoplankton and zooplankton migrate each night from their hiding places on the bottom to feed on the surface.

According to reputable sources, this is the largest migration on earth and it is critical to assisting with carbon sequestration in ocean depths aside from being a major source of food for cetaceans and the creatures that sharks and rays and other fish eat.

By all accounts the plankton is extremely sensitive to light and would therefore probably react adversely to the light, obstructions and noise generated by offshore wind farms and their attendant vessels.

Nowhere in the literature published by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water is this phenomenon even mentioned let alone acknowledged as something to be considered.

I know the phenomenon exists on the east coast of Australia.

While sailing offshore at night I have regularly observed plankton lighting up the surface when they are disturbed by the boat and dolphins.

Until recently I had no idea of the extent or complexity of this migration.

I request that you acknowledge the significance of this phenomenon and provide verifiable evidence that thousands of square kms of light-filled ocean containing numerous obstructions and making large amounts of noise from turbines and attendant vessels, if offshore wind farms are developed around Australia, will not significantly interrupt the basis of the food chain.

Yours sincerely,
Cherylle STONE,
Soldiers Point.

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