Porpoises washing up, dead, near windplant (Germany)

Sep 13, 2010

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Large Number Of Dead Porpoises [Whales] Wash Up. Offshore Windpark Construction May Be The Cause.

Editor:  The author refers to these mammals as “whales.”  Technically, they are indeed whales, but they are more commonly referred to as porpoises.  Porpoises are a species of whale.

—P. Gosselin, NoTricksZone: Climate Science News From Germany (9/8/10)

Earlier today German Radio reported that an unusually large number of dead whales have washed up on the North German Baltic beaches over the last 2 weeks.

Now some believe that a newly installed Baltic 1 offshore windpark consisting of 21 2.3-MW turbines may be responsible, according to reports.

I searched the Internet for more information, but the story appears to be bottled up for now. The online dnews.de has a small report.

It writes that according to the German Marine Museum, 12 cadavers have appeared so far. According to whale researcher Stefan Bräger:

“This high frequency is extraordinary. It is unclear what the cause of death could be, and it cannot be determined due to the extent the whales are decomposed. Researchers believe that it’s due to biological reasons. Young whales and mothers are especially vulnerable shortly after birth. They do not exclude the possibility that the construction of the windpark near the Darss peninsula may have been a factor.”

The windpark was just completed and is operated by energy giant EnBW.

This video link here is an animation of how the windpark was constructed. The video shows how huge mono-piles with a wall thickness of 100 mm are pounded into the seabed. That certainly cannot be very pleasant for any marine wildlife nearby, and certainly represents a major disturbance of habitat.

The issue of ramming huge piles into the seabed is becoming increasingly controversial in the installation of offshore windparks.

According to the Director of the German Marine Museum in Stralsund, Harald Benke, in this n-tv report here: “Whales whose hearing is disrupted or permanently damaged by noise are basically sentenced to death because they are no longer able to orient themselves.”

And according to Kristin Blasche of the Federal Ministry For Maritime Shipping And Hydrography: “It has been determined that during pile driving work for offshore windparks – when the foundation is anchored to the seabed – extremely intense shock waves are produced under water.”

  1. Comment by Rucio on 09/13/2010 at 7:44 am

    “Porpoises” may be more accurate. See: http://www.neuepresse.de/Nachrichten/Magazin/Uebersicht/Ungewoehnlich-viele-tote-Schweinswale-an-Ostseekueste

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