Fish Guidance Systems (FGS) will be working with Swansea University and the Welsh Government on its Tidal Lagoon Challenge, it was announced today. This new project aims to protect Atlantic salmon, sea trout and twaite shad.

It will support fish migration studies, to develop a better understanding of the risks of tidal energy systems to them, and the role of acoustic fish deterrents to protect these important natural assets. 

The project will use fish tagging and monitoring to test the effectiveness of an Acoustic Fish Deterrent (AFD) as a mitigation measure for tidal range deployment.

The challenge was announced by Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford in March 2023, when he promised £750,000 funding for three research projects working on tidal lagoon technology.

The three successful lead organisations have been named as:

·  Swansea University in the environment category (working with FGS).

·  Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult in the engineering and technical category.

·  Cardiff University in the socio economic and finance category.

The Managing Director of FGS, Dr David Lambert, said: “Twaite shad are particularly at risk as they have only four known UK spawning areas –  the Severn, Usk, Wye and Tywi Rivers. Due to their unusual hearing, they respond well to high frequency signals and we are pleased to be helping develop a system to protect these endangered fish populations, which Swansea University will evaluate”. 

Speaking at the Marine Energy Wales conference, Welsh Climate Change Minister Julie James MS said: “We are strong supporters of marine energy and the incredible opportunity presented by Wales’s coast line. 

“Congratulations to each of these projects. I am excited how the research will help to move the tidal lagoon sector in Wales forward by developing the tidal lagoon schemes whilst also recognising the potential value of this work for other marine industries.” 

Swansea University Project Director Dr David Clarke added: “This is great news, the funding will support migration studies looking at movements of acoustically tagged Atlantic salmon, sea trout and twaite shad, enabling us to understand the risks of marine renewables to these species.  

“It will also enable us to develop and refine mitigation techniques – acoustic fish deterrence – to better protect these important natural assets.”

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