Building an artificial island in the North Sea with marine life on Dogger Bank the construction phase and operational phase of a power hub islands is expected to lead to a number of effects on the marine life. During the research and development phases studies and analyses will be carried out to assess the potential impact on the marine life in the area.
Due to the presence of fronts the Dogger Bank is a year-round source of food for fish, birds as well as marine mammals some are protected under the EU habitat directive. New species are still being discovered on Dogger Bank recently during an expedition during the summer 2017. Here are listed some of the species known to be present in the area of Dogger Bank.
Harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena)
With a body length of only 1.4 – 1.8 meters and a body weight of approximately 55-65 kilograms, the Harbour Porpoise is one of the world’s smallest whales. The Harbour Porpoise is a protected Habitat Directive species in the Dutch and German Habitat area of Dogger Bank. The Harbour Porpoise eats primarily cod and herring fish, but can also eat squid and crustaceans. Harbour porpoises are distributed within the waters over and around the Dogger Bank and within the candidate SAC area.
Protection condition: EU habitat directive – N2000 No 1351
Grey Seal (Halichoerus grypus)
The grey seal is widely used throughout the North Atlantic. They live in particular fish, but they also eat crustaceans and cephalopods. The seal is in coastal areas of islands, sandy beaches, reefs, shards, islets and sand banks where they can live undisturbed. The Grey Seal is a protected Habitat Directive species in the Dutch Habitat area of Dogger Bank.
Protection condition: EU habitat directive – N2000 No 1364
Harbour seal/Common Seal (Phoca vitulina)
The Common seal is known to live along the coasts of the temperate and Arctic waters of the northern hemisphere. They live primarily of fish, but they also eat crustaceans and cephalopods. The common seal occurs especially in coastal waters where there is plenty of food and where there are undisturbed rest areas such as sand banks, reefs, islets and islands. Common seals have been sighted at Dogger Bank and are at present considered as visiting species and are a protected Habitat Directive species in the Dutch and German Habitat areas of Dogger Bank.
Protection condition: EU habitat directive – N2000 No 1365
Northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis)
The Northern fulmar is found primarily in subarctic regions of the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans. The species preferably is located out at sea, but is regularly seen on the coasts. The Northern fulmar takes food from the sea surface, or it dives after food, consisting mainly of small fish, octopus and crustaceans. In addition, it often follows fishing boats and takes the fish waste thrown overboard. The Northern fulmar is known to be present at the Dogger Bank and is basis for the designation of the German Habitat area of Dogger Bank.
The lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus)
The lesser black-backed gull is a large gull that breeds on the Atlantic coasts of Europe and is one of the farthest to sea living gulls where it finds large part of its food. Its diet is very varied and consists of all sorts of plant and animal material from fish to other birds, smaller mammals, molluscs and insects, but also waste. The lesser black-backed gull is present in concentrations in the Dogger Bank and is basis for the designation of the German Habitat area of Dogger Bank.
Northern gannet (Morus bassanus)
Their breeding range is the North Atlantic on coasts influenced by the Gulf Stream with some exceptions. The water temperature determines the distribution of Atlantic mackerel and herring, which are the main food source for the Northern gannet. It is known to be present at the Dogger Bank and is basis for the designation of the German Habitat area of Dogger Bank.
Common guillemot (Uria aalge)
The common guillemot is primarily widespread in the North Atlantic and the northern Pacific. In Europe, it is found in Northern Europe and in the Baltic Sea. The guillemot is very connected to the sea, and only during the breeding season guillemot finds land. In the UK and German part of the Dogger Bank, large numbers of the British population of the common guillemot has been found, but not as a regular occurrence.
The black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla)
The Black-legged Kittiwake breeds along northern coasts and winters out at sea. They are fish feeders, and are more pelagic than gulls outside the breeding season. The Black-legged Kittiwake is present in concentrations in the Dogger Bank and is basis for the designation of the German Habitat area of Dogger Bank.
Little auk (Alle alle)
Dogger Bank is an important area for little auk with maybe 100.000 birds wintering in the area (DOF, 2005). Numbers have also been assessed higher, up to 1 million (DOF, 2016). The Little Auk mainly eats crustaceans, especially copepods, but also other small invertebrates along with small fish.
Genus Gavia (Different loons/divers)
There are indications of different species of the genus Gavia on Dogger Bank and some overwintering populations such as the yellow-billed loon.
- Red-throated diver/ red-throated loon (Gavia stellata )
The red-throated loon is widely spread across the northern parts of Europe, Asia and North America. There are also indications of high densities of red-throated diver in the UK and German part of the bank. The food consists exclusively of fish, especially small cod and herring fish. The red-throated diver is breeding in smaller lakes, ponds and marshes on mountain peaks and tundra, from which it flies to the sea for fishing. During the winter period it stays on the sea
- Yellow-billed loon (Gavia adamsii)The yellow-billed loon also known as the white-billed loon breeds in the Arctic and winters mainly at sea along the coasts of the northern Pacific Ocean and northwestern Norway. This species, like all divers, is a specialist fish-eater, catching its prey underwater. There are also indications of overwintering populations of the yellow-billed loon in the UK and German part of the Dogger Bank.
Different fish species
The oceanographic front around Dogger Bank creates high production of phytoplankton which serves as basis for high biomass at higher levels of the food chain and the wider area is known as a spawning ground for several fish species fish. It is a year-round source of food in particularly for fish which then serves as great food source for birds as well as marine mammals in the area.
Rays have also been known to concentrate near the Dogger Bank and in addition, a long list of invertebrates as well as one fish “the lesser weever” (Echiichthys vipera)are mentioned as important species at the site.
Dogger Bank is also known to be a productive fishing bank and a number of fish species on and around Dogger Bank are important commercial species, as well as important species for the food web in the North Sea. Dogger Bank has a high occurrence of fish eggs and larvae, especially from cod, plaice and American plaice.
Especially four key commercial fish has been identified in the area:
- Sand eel