Aquaculture technology specialists, Ace Aquatec, have partnered with marine ecosystem restoration specialists Ocean Health to further develop FaunaGuard, an acoustic system which uses academically validated sound patterns with award-winning transducer technology to create temporary exclusion zones around project sites. The two organizations now join efforts to make FaunaGuard globally available as the go-to mitigation solution for the offshore renewables sector.
FaunaGuard is an ethical system and an important tool for safeguarding oceanic wildlife from the risks associated with offshore construction works. The system has been developed over a decade and has been deployed in many pioneering offshore construction campaigns, in order to protect marine life from serious physiological harm.
FaunaGuard devices are due to be installed for Ocean Health next in the Baltic Sea from March 2023 onwards, with ongoing support from Ace Aquatec on monitoring marine life, having been recently deployed on CrossWind Hollandse Kust Noord project in the North Sea.
Andrew Gillespie, Marine Protection Products Business Manager at Ace Aquatec, assured: “We are seeing a marked increase in demand from environmental surveyors, contractors, and developers, who are specifying the need for more ethical solutions for safeguarding marine mammals from harm during construction projects. Our partnership with Ocean Health is accelerating change in the offshore sector to adopt a more species-specific approach to protection, rather than an outdated one-size-fits-all tactic.”
Unique species-specific modular system
Ongoing research, development and testing has given rise to a unique species-specific modular system, which unlike older generation acoustic devices targets exact hearing ranges of fish, seals, porpoises, and turtles; emits scientifically validated low-volume acoustics that do not cause hearing loss or deafness; uses a series of complex tones to avoid habituation, ensures the least physiological impact possible during subsea operations; and is fully compliant with the high standards set by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) in the UK and the Federal Maritime & Hydrographic Agency (BSH) in Germany.
The Ace Aquatec and Ocean Health partnership will continuously seek for opportunities for further development of the innovative technology and plans include adding new species-specific sounds.
Animals kept at a safe distance
FaunaGuard devices are typically deployed from a vessel to ensure animals are kept at a safe distance during other marine activities, such as pile driving, safe detonation of unexploded subsea ordnance, spawning protection, and removing oil spillages. Experts hail FaunaGuard technology as playing a vital part in protecting marine life offshore.
In that sense, René Kersten, Program Manager at Ocean Health, said: “The state-of-the-art technology used in FaunaGuard matches perfectly with our ambition to innovate the domain of ocean health. This partnership allows us to forge ahead with the development of new modules for additional species, so we are at the forefront of marine wildlife protection”.
Two companies at the forefront
It’s important to remember that Ace Aquatec is a cutting-edge aquaculture technology company. They partner with world-leading experts in various scientific fields to apply technological developments to aquaculture and marine industries.
They design products to make fish farming more efficient and humane while protecting the environment. Also, they specialize in welfare-first in-water stunning systems; low-impact marine mammal protection products used for offshore construction and aquaculture projects; biomass estimation and sea lice removal systems.
From their head office in Dundee, Scotland, Ace Aquatec manages global R&D projects, manufacturing at two UK factories, and co-ordinates installers, engineers, and distributors of their products worldwide. They have offices in Norway, Canada, Chile, and distribution partners in key markets.
Ocean Health, in the other hand, strives to contribute to the global climate change ambitions, and work towards a net positive biodiversity impact within the marine environment. Ocean Health concepts include smart-financing models, cross sector partnerships and scalable solutions to create impact.
As an initiative by Van Oord, Ocean Health was founded with the vision of leaving behind a prosperous and liveable planet with healthy and thriving oceans for all future generations.
It is uniquely positioned as it utilizes over +150 years of marine ingenuity and operational expertise of Van Oord Ocean Health operates in several ocean ecosystems including corals, mangroves, shellfish reefs, seaweed and seagrass.