New guidance has been published to examine the likelihood of large marine animals becoming entangled in marine renewable mooring systems and cables.
The Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) report finds that the moorings are likely to pose a relatively modest risk to whales, seals and basking sharks, particularly when compared to the risk posed by some fishing activities.
Many of these large species are protected by law in Scotland and an understanding of the potential risk of entanglement could help marine renewable energy developers and consenting authorities stay within the law.
The research was carried out by the Scottish Association for Marine Science and the University of Exeter.
It provides a series of recommendations for the industry to reduce risks to animals.
The report highlights a need for further investigations into the abundance of derelict fishing gear in Scottish waters, and the extent to which this becomes snagged in moorings or other structures.
Ron Macdonald, SNH director of policy and advice, said: “Our role is to provide information and advice to developers and consenting authorities on potential impacts of marine energy installations and how these impacts might be avoided or minimised.
“In order to do this we need to have the best available research to refer to – that’s why we commissioned this work.”