It is essential to be aware of the
locations of subsea cables and renewable energy infrastructure,
when fishing in the vicinity of such structures. It is essential
you have all the information in relation to their positions
available to you and the KIS-ORCA project is designed to provide
exactly that for all seabed users. Charts, fishing plotter files
and an interactive map, showing subsea cables and renewable energy
structures surrounding the UK, may be viewed or downloaded, free of
Download the latest
charts and plotter files from here.
The risks associated with fishing
around offshore structures and submarine cables has been widely
discussed. Nevertheless, the risks still remain and it is important
fishermen are aware of these and also have the best possible
information to hand.
Regulations governing how close
fishermen can sail to renewables structures (turbines and
substations) was issued in 2007 and states that whilst under
construction, during repair, or major maintenance, a 500m safety
zone applies to turbines etc, but thereafter during normal
operations, an opertor may apply for a 50m safety zone. This
was agreed after consultation with all stakeholders as the best
solution and keep disruption to mariners to a minimum.
More details can be found here: (Safety
Zone Explanatory Memo).
Fishing in areas where submarine
cables exist are still governed by archaic laws, however, a modern
and sensible approach must be applied to this area of operation.
The greatest level of risk to vessels engaged in fishing
operations, are to those which penetrate the seabed in any way such
as trawling, dredging and anchors from nets or crab/lobster
The most serious risk affecting
fishermen when fishing in areas where submarine cables exist, is to
snag their gear on a cable. Submarine cables are initially
buried on installation, although may become exposed due to current
and seabed erosion. It is therefore best to avoid fishing in such
areas, if at all possible. Operators of subsea cables are aware
that fishing does take place in the vicinity of cables, however, it
must be stressed how important it is to take extreme caution when
doing so. A vessel and it's crew could become in danger if a vessel
attempts to lift a cable from the seabed.
If you do foul a
cable, make sure you follow the emergency procedures to safeguard
your vessel and your crew.
The following sequence of events shows what can happen if a vessel
fouls a submarine cable.
Consequences of Snagging a Subsea Cable
Fishing within a Windfarm
Current legislation does not
prohibit fishing from taking place within offshore windfarm areas.
As stated above, operators may apply for a 50m safety zone in place
around turbines and offshore substations during normal operations.
When remedial work, or maintenance is being carried out, this
safety zone is extended to 500m.
Smaller fishing vessels may decide
to work within the confines of wind farms, working crab/lobster
pots, gill nets, etc. As described in other areas of this
site, each turbine is linked to the next by a subsea cable and
where the cable joins up with the turbine, there is potential for
snagging on these sections. Therefore, if fishing using ground gear
within wind farms, extreme caution should be taken at all
Due to the presence of so many
submarine cables and surface structures in a windfarm area, other
types of fishing such as trawling or dredging is unlikely to take
place, especially from larger vessels. This is due to their
restricted ability to manouvre, due to potential winds and currents
and the penetrative nature of their gear, which would enhance the
risks of snagging.