The electromagnetic field produced by underwater wind farm power cables is causing lobster larvae to come out deformed and reduce their ability to swim.
That’s according to research by scientists at Heriot-Watt University and St Abbs Marine Station, revealing offshore wind farms could be having detrimental side affects to marine lifeforms.
The scientists exposed more than 4,000 lobster and crab eggs to an equivalent level of electromagnetic field that they would experience near offshore wind farms and compared these with eggs that were not exposed.
Dr Alastair Lyndon elaborated on their findings: “Both crab and lobster larvae exposed to the electromagnetic field were smaller, which could have an impact on their survival. Underwater, bigger means better able to avoid predators.”
Image: Heriot-Watt University
He explained that crabs were far less likely to be impacted than the lobsters, however, lobster larvae turned out three times more likely to be deformed – with issues including bent tails, undeveloped eyes and swollen bodies.
The researchers stressed that more needs to be done to understand the impact wind infrastructure has on species in close proximity, with a proposed solution being to bury the cables in the seafloor to reduce the electromagnetic field.
“Lobster isn’t an endangered species but it is under sustained pressure because of its commercial value.
“We should be aware of the need to shield them from electromagnetic fields, particularly during early development, as well as monitoring their long-term behaviour and development, which also goes for crabs.
“We must decarbonise our energy supply but we must also ensure there are as few unintended consequences as possible,” concluded Lyndon.