Artificial reefs installed off Belgian coast

BELGIUM: Thirty three artificial reefs were installed last week in the Thornton Bank and Belwind wind farms as part of a government initiative to increase biodiversity in Belgian waters. It is the first time such artificial reefs have been installed in the North Sea.

Floating platforms will provide resting places for seals
Floating platforms will provide resting places for seals

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Later this year, gravel and stones will also be deposited on the sand banks, to be joined next year by floating platforms to provide resting places for seals.

Wind farms were chosen for this first experimental phase because shipping and fishing is banned and there is little disturbance. They represent "the perfect place to carry out scientific tests," said government minister Johan Vande Lanotte. Studies already indicate that wind installations have a positive effect on biodiversity, he added.

The experimental phase, lasting five years at a cost of EUR 130,000, is being funded by C-Power and Belwind, the owners of the two facilities. If the results prove positive, the government plans to extend the scheme.

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