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Biodiversity research in the Port of Aarhus

Created: 2021

In a partnership with Aarhus University and the French pioneering company Ecocean the Port of Aarhus has initiated a research project, which will investigate the possibility of increasing survival and biodiversity of fry at the coastal areas around Aarhus.

Initially 18 Biohut® artificial nurseries has been set up in the port of Aarhus where small fish can “eat out” or hide from predators.

Ecocean, which is an innovative company specializing in the development of unique technologies for boosting the marine environment, has their primary experience from harbours in the Mediterranean. That experience will now be applied in order to investigate the possibility of increasing the biodiversity in the North Sea area.

In connection with a planned expansion, the Port of Aarhus has decided to construct substantial areas of stone reef which attracts fish, due to the reefs creating holes and water flow where the marine animals can find food and hide from predators. But a harbour area consists of more than stone reefs, since there are also several sheet pilings and concrete constructions under water in a harbour. The fish cannot hide there and therefore, the Biohut® are a unique opportunity for the small fish and crustaceans. The Biohut® contain coconut rope and oyster shells substrates where algae and many animals can grow as a start of a food chain. This will attract the fish which will be drawn towards the Biohut® to eat.

“The monitoring actions, done by Aarhus University, will provide us with concrete knowledge of what species of fish and crustaceans there are in the sea around Aarhus. This provides us with the opportunity to support the exact species that can be found here – both regarding the existing harbour but also when we will be expanding the harbour” says Anne Zachariassen the COO of the Port of Aarhus.

She points out, that the Port of Aarhus works with multiple of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG 14 “Life below water”. This project is one among multiple projects that is connected to the desire for a marine environment with an increased biodiversity compared to what is found today.

Peter Grønkjær, who is a professor at the department of Biology at Aarhus University says, that it is an obvious opportunity to increase the biodiversity and the life below water by converting the harbour piers with simple resources into artificial reefs that can provide great habitats for the fish and marine animals that live near the coast.

For further information:

COO Anne Zachariassen, phone number: +45 20605208 or, Professor Peter Grønkjær, phone number: +45 23382177

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