Lessons from stakeholder dialogues on marine aquaculture in offshore wind farms: Perceived potentials, constraints and research gaps
Drawing on a case study in Germany, this contribution explores the practical application of offshore aquaculture within offshore wind farms in view of the different stakeholders involved. Using a transdisciplinary research approach, an understanding of the rationalities and interests among the different involved stakeholder groups was explored. Offshore wind energy is high on the political agenda in Germany. The vast spatial requirements however inherit potential user conflicts with competing, and under current legislation excluded users such as fishermen. Solutions for combining sustainable uses of the same ocean space have thus seen increasing interest within the research community in Germany and in Europe over the past years. This paper was inspired by and presents the outcomes of a stakeholder analysis and in particular a stakeholder workshop. Central focus was placed on academics and private as well as public stakeholders engaged in current research efforts of combining offshore wind farms and aquaculture in the German North Sea. The paper identifies the overall acceptance of such a multi-use scenario in society, opportunities and constraints as perceived by the stakeholders, and key research gaps. The results confirm the assumption that there is a clear need, and also willingness on behalf of the policy makers and the research community, to find sustainable, resource- and space-efficient solutions for combined ocean use.